Jimmy Kimmel Bringing ‘All In The Family’ & ‘The Jeffersons’ Back to Primetime…Live!
Jimmy Kimmel is going back in time… an earlier time of television, that is.
On Thursday night’s broadcast of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the late night host announced a live, 90-minute primetime event in tribute to classic television sitcoms. Entitled, “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All in the Family and The Jeffersons,” Kimmel will be joined by iconic television producer Lear, as well as executive producers Brent Miller, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Justin Theroux for the special, airing live on Wednesday, May 22 (8/7c) on ABC.
In the special, viewers will get to see a recreation of an original episode of the Emmy-winning series, All in the Family (1971-79) and its spinoff, The Jeffersons (1975-1985). Lear and Kimmel will serve as hosts and the special will be directed by 10-time Emmy winner James Burrows.
Casting will be filled with familiar faces from film and television. In this one-time event, Woody Harrelson will play Archie Bunker, Marisa Tomei will play his wife Edith Bunker, Jamie Foxx and Wanda Sykes will play George and Louise Jefferson, Ellie Kemper will play Gloria Stivic, Will Ferrell as Tom Willis, and Justina Machado as the Jefferson’s live-in maid, Florence Johnston. More stars to be named later.
Kimmel said of the event, “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.”
Lear added, “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.”
If you’re not up to speed on your television sitcom history, All in the Family was tackling controversial subjects for the first time such as women’s rights, racism, and homosexuality. The series followed Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor) 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 (Jean Stapleton), who tried to understand Archie’s conservative ways and outdated beliefs.
The Jeffersons, spun off from All in the Family, 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 (Sherman Hemsley) and Louise Jefferson (Isabel Sanford) moving on up to the east side of New York City and 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, Wednesday, May 22, 8/7c, ABC