ABC will transform the sitcom “All in the Family” and its successful spinoff “The Jeffersons” into a 90-minute live television production, set to air on May 22. Iconic TV creator and producer Norman Lear, who created both shows, will co-host the new broadcast alongside late-night host Jimmy Kimmel.
Both TV series came out in the ’70s. They aired during a time when comedies started to become more rooted in reality. Many considered these shows groundbreaking because they addressed social issues such as racism and homophobia.
“They have said over and over again that these two shows were meant for the ’70s and would not work today,” Lear (below), 96, said in a statement. “We disagree with them and are here to prove, with two great casts depicting ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons,’ the timeliness 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.”
The performers have a tough act to follow — characters from these beloved shows are among the most iconic in TV. But the new cast includes some heavy-hitters, too, and we can’t wait to see them in these roles.
Woody Harrelson will take the role of Archie Bunker, which Carroll O’Connor originated.
Archie Bunker was a blue-collar worker and family man who had to overcome his prejudices.
Marisa Tomei will play his wife, Edith, originally portrayed by Jean Stapleton.
Stapleton’s Edith was the heart of the Bunker family.
Jamie Foxx has also joined the cast to play George Jefferson, originally depicted by Sherman Hemsley. The Jeffersons lived next door to the Bunkers in their fictional TV neighborhood.
George and Weezy Jefferson became such a hit on “All in the Family,” they later got their own TV show. Here’s Sherman Hemsley in 2003.
Wanda Sykes will play Weezy, who was first portrayed by Isabel Sanford.
Sanford and Hemsley reunited at the 2004 TV Land awards, as seen below. Sanford, Hemsley, O’Connor and Stapleton have all since passed away.
Ellie Kemper, Will Ferrell and Justina Machado will also be some of the other famous faces making appearances on the new ABC special.
Will you tune in for the live remake of these classic shows?