Press release from ABC, April 18, 2019:
ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel presents a live, 90-minute prime-time event in tribute to classic television sitcoms. “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons'” teams Kimmel with television icon Norman Lear and executive producers Brent Miller, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Justin Theroux. This special, airing live WEDNESDAY, MAY 22 (8:00-9:31 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network, will take viewers down memory lane, recreating an original episode from each of the Emmy(R) Award-winning series “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons.” This legendary night of television will be hosted by Lear and Kimmel, and directed by 10-time Emmy winner James Burrows.
“All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” were groundbreaking shows that changed American television. In this new, one-night-only event, Woody Harrelson will take on the role of Archie Bunker, alongside Marisa Tomei who will be playing Edith Bunker, with Jamie Foxx and Wanda Sykes playing George and Louise Jefferson. Ellie Kemper will play Gloria Stivic; Will Ferrell will appear as Tom Willis, and Justina Machado is set to play Florence Johnston. More stars will be named later.
“The fact that a group of Oscar winners eagerly agreed to play these iconic characters is a testament to the greatness of these shows and their creator, Norman Lear. To be a part of this is a dream come true for me and for everyone involved,” said Jimmy Kimmel.
“We are so honored to partner with our brilliant friend Jimmy Kimmel and trailblazer Norman Lear to bring some of the most iconic sitcoms ever made back to television,” said Karey Burke, president, ABC Entertainment. “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.”
“They have said over and over again that these two shows were meant for the ’70s and would not work today. We disagree with them and are here to prove, with two great casts depicting ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons,’ the timelessness of human nature. I cannot wait to see what these glorious performers make in our time of these indelible characters, and I couldn’t be more grateful for Jimmy Kimmel, Sony and ABC for their collective willingness to conceive and pursue this never-been-done-before event,” said Norman Lear.
“We are honored and elated to be involved in retelling these groundbreaking stories, which are as relevant today as they were 40 years ago when they first aired. And to be working with such brilliant icons as Norman Lear and Jimmy Kimmel, as well as this dream cast, in this exciting new format, is nothing short of amazing!” said Sony Pictures Television Studios President Jeff Frost and Co-Presidents Chris Parnell and Jason Clodfelter.
From 1971 through 1979, “All in the Family” was in the homes of millions of Americans, tackling controversial subjects for the first time such as women’s rights, racism and homosexuality. The series followed Archie Bunker as the highly opinionated, working-class family man who viewed the world on his terms. When not arguing with his liberal son-in-law, Archie took refuge in his wife, Edith, who tried to understand Archie’s conservative ways and outdated beliefs. The award-winning series shaped ongoing political and social conversations among American families in the post-civil rights era.
The success of “All in the Family” launched “The Jeffersons,” running from 1975 to 1985. It was the first television series to feature an interracial couple, and it would go on to be one of the longest-running African-American shows on TV. The series followed George and Louise Jefferson moving on up to the east side and showcasing what it was like to be successful in a predominantly white world. The series changed the landscape and helped shift conversations about race and class, paving the way for other African-American actors and TV shows.
“Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons'” will be produced by Smoking Baby Productions, ACT III Productions, Gary Sanchez Productions and Sony Pictures Television. Norman Lear, Jimmy Kimmel, Brent Miller, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Justin Theroux will executive produce; and the live special will be directed by James Burrows.