Archie Bunker and The Jeffersons Return to Live TV For One Night
These revered shows are as culturally relevant today as they’ve ever been, and the talent they have gathered makes this the can’t-miss television event of the year.”
For one night ABC will air a live 90-minute remake of two groundbreaking TV shows that tackled controversial subjects for the first time in the 1970s, such as women’s rights, racism and homosexuality.
Entitled “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All in the Family and The Jeffersons,” late-night host Jimmy Kimmel will team with television icon Norman Lear and executive producers Brent Miller, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Justin Theroux. The special will include a remake of one episode of each show.
Acclaimed and Oscar-winning actors have already signed on for the new special, including Woody Harrelson as Archie Bunker, Marisa Tomei as Edith Bunker, with Jamie Foxx and Wanda Sykes playing George and Louise Jefferson. Ellie Kemper, Will Ferrell and Justina Machado have also signed on, with more stars to be confirmed later.
Perhaps the motivation behind this remake is partially due to the current cultural and political landscape.
“These revered shows are as culturally relevant today as they’ve ever been, and the talent they have gathered makes this the can’t-miss television event of the year…make that decade,” said Karey Burke, president of ABC Entertainment.
Television producer Norman Lear also agreed, hoping to disprove some comments he heard that “these two shows were meant for the ’70s and would not work today.”
It remains to be seen how this special will fare with audiences and critics, but certainly today’s TV landscape has been quite open to politically and socially charged themes, with the success of shows like “Veep,” “Pose” and “The Chi.”
Audiences seem to be craving the visibility of important issues from real life in their entertainment, along with the usual escapism associated with the medium.
“All in the Family” aired from 1971 through 1979 and was noted for its insight into post-Civil Rights-era American life, with its often gritty portrayal of an ordinary family that bore clashing political and social views.
A spin-off of “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons” aired from 1975 to 1985. It featured the first interracial couple on television and went on to be one of the longest-running African-American shows on TV, blazing a trail for future shows with African Americans.
The new special will air Wednesday May 22 (8:00-9:31 p.m. EDT) on The ABC Television Network.