An original episode from each iconic Lear comedy will be re-created; James Burrows is directing the live special. Live In Front Of A Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All In The Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons’ will air Wednesday, May 22, 8-9:30 PM ET.
Woody Harrelson will play Archie Bunker, with Marisa Tomei as wife Edith in the recreation of All In The Family. Jamie Foxx and Wanda Sykes take the roles of George and Louise Jefferson in the All in the Family spinoff, The Jeffersons.
Ellie Kemper will play Gloria Stivic, Will Ferrell will appear as Tom Willis and Justina Machado is set to play Florence Johnston, with more casting announcements to come.
Kimmel and Lear host; the project teams them with exec producers Brent Miller, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Justin Theroux.
“The fact that a group of Oscar winners eagerly agreed to play these iconic characters is testament to the greatness of these shows and their creator, Norman Lear,” Kimmel said, calling the project a “dream come true.”
Lear said that he’s heard from people who say the two series were of the ’70s and “would not work today.”
“We disagree with them and are here to prove, with two great casts depicting of All In The Family and The Jeffersons, the timelessness of human nature,” Lear continued, adding, “I cannot wait to see what these glorious performers make in our time of these indelible characters.”
Last July, SPT announced a new deal with Lear and his Act III Productions, noting it had an “option to re-imagine titles from his extensive library including All In The Family, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Maude and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, to name a few.”
ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke, meanwhile, declared the network “honored” to partner with “our brilliant friend Jimmy Kimmel and trailblazer Norman Lear” in the live TV project, agreeing with Lear that the two series are “as culturally relevant today as they’ve ever been.” She forecast it will be “the can’t-miss television event” of the year, if not the decade, while Sony Pictures Television Studios president Jeff Frost and co-presidents Chris Parnell and Jason Clodfelter called it an “exciting new format.”
All in the Family shaped political and social conversations in American homes in the post-civil rights era. From 1971 through 1979, the series about conservative working class Archie Bunker, his liberal son-in-law and daughter, and his wife Edith tackled such hot-button topics as women’s rights, racism, and homosexuality.
The success of All in the Family led to the introduction of The Jeffersons, which ran from 1975 to 1985 – the first television series to feature an interracial couple (played by Roxie Roker and Franklin Cover). It would go on to be one of the longest running African American shows on TV, following George and Louise Jefferson as they moved to the East Side and showcased what it was like to be successful in a predominantly white world. The show is credited with shifting conversations about race and class, paving the way for other African American actors and TV series.
Live In Front Of A Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All In The Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons’ is being produced by Smoking Baby Productions, ACT III Productions, Gary Sanchez Productions and Sony Pictures Television.
Watch Kimmel’s announcement below.