Press release from ABC, May 23, 2019:
ABC will rebroadcast its highly rated sitcom event, “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons,'” on SATURDAY, MAY 25 (8:00-9:33 p.m. EDT). Hosted by television icon Norman Lear and late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, directed by 10-time Emmy(R) winner James Burrows and produced by Sony Pictures Television, the special takes viewers down memory lane, recreating an original episode from each of the Emmy Award-winning series. (Rebroadcast. OAD: 5/22/19)
Star power includes Woody Harrelson (Archie Bunker), Marisa Tomei (Edith Bunker), Jamie Foxx (George Jefferson), Wanda Sykes (Louise Jefferson), Kerry Washington (Helen Willis), Ellie Kemper (Gloria Stivic), Will Ferrell (Tom Willis), Marla Gibbs reprising her original role (Florence Johnston), Ike Barinholtz (Meathead), Sean Hayes (Mr. Lorenzo), Amber Stevens West (Jenny Willis Jefferson), Jovan Adepo (Lionel Jefferson), Anthony Anderson (Uncle Henry), Stephen Tobolowsky (Mr. Bentley), Jackée Harry (Diane Stockwell), Fran Bennett (Mother Jefferson) and a musical performance by Jennifer Hudson.
The special originally aired live on Wednesday, May 22, drawing an average audience of 10.4 million viewers and earned a 1.7/9 in Adults 18-49 to rank as Wednesday’s definitive No. 1 TV program. The Sony-produced, star-studded restaging by Jimmy Kimmel of the two Norman Lear comedies delivered 6-month highs for ABC in the 90-minute Wednesday time period – since the “CMA Awards” on 11/14/18. And excluding only award shows, the comedy special attracted the Net’s largest audience in the time slot since the first Wednesday of the 2012-2013 season – since 9/26/12. “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” stood as the No. 1 most-social prime-time program on Wednesday with 288,500 total interactions.
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his liberal son-in-law, Archie took refuge with his wife, Edith, who tried to understand Archie’s conservative ways and outdated beliefs.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'” was 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 served as executive producers; and the live special was directed by James Burrows.