ABC will air live episodes of Norman Lear’s classic ’70s-era sitcoms “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” Wednesday (8-9:30 p.m.), with Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomei as Archie and Edith Bunker and Jamie Foxx and Wanda Sykes as George and Louise Jefferson.
The special will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and Lear, who was also responsible for “Sanford and Son,” “Maude,” “Good Times” and “One Day at a Time” (both the CBS and Netflix versions), among others.
Lear, 96, answered a few questions about Wednesday night’s special.
Why did you choose to do live re-enactments of both shows as opposed to trying to revive them as ongoing series?
I didn’t choose to do a live re-enactment of those shows. It was Jimmy Kimmel’s idea. He phoned my partner, Brent Miller, and collectively, with ABC and Sony, they came to me and said “Can we?” and I said, “Yes, please.” I had no intention of reviving the shows and Jimmy Kimmel wanted to do it. Also, it was his notion to do it live.
Why these two Norman Lear shows as opposed to, let’s say, “Sanford and Son” and “Maude”?
“All in the Family” is where it all started, and “The Jeffersons” is the longest-running of those shows.
Were [“All in the Family”] stars Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers and [“The Jeffersons”] star Marla Gibbs approached to appear?
Audiences will have to tune in to see if there are some surprises.
Did you choose the two episodes?
They were chosen by all of us. They are two episodes that complement each other nicely. I think they will resonate very topically.