When the original All In The Family/ The Jeffersons creator Norman Lear was told his classic TV series “would not work today” it was all the motivation he needed to prove the public wrong. Now, according to Deadline, an Oscar-level star studded cast is set to light up prime time for a one-night live TV special reviving the 70’s classics.
All in the Family was a beacon of political and social conversations in American homes for almost a full decade during a crucial time for race relations. From 1971 through 1979, the series followed Archie Bunker (played by Carroll O’Connor), a lovable yet brash, bigoted, conservative working-class husband. He’s a WWII veteran and a no-nonsense, toxic masculine, homophobic, meat-eating, sports-watching, man’s man. There are no safe-spaces, no emotional support animals, political correctness, and no (willing) apologies given in the Bunker Household. Antics ensue as Archie frequently clashes with his super liberal son-in-law and daughter, while his wife Edith (Jean Stapleton) tries to keep the peace by softening her husband’s heart and championing trendy topics like women’s rights and racism.
The success of All in the Family led to a spin off sitcom The Jeffersons, which ran from 1975 to 1985 . The Jeffersons followed George and Louise Jefferson, a married black couple that lived next door to the Bunkers. As George and Weezie moved on up to the east-side of wealth and success, the show started a new conversation of black American upward mobility, a conversation that would later be deepened with family sitcoms such as The Cosby Show. With George Jefferson’s biting and brutal truths spoken, the show highlighted what it was really like to be a black man in a white man’s working world. Notably, The Jeffersons was the first television series to feature an interracial couple (played by Roxie Roker and Franklin Cover), and it became one of the longest running African American shows on TV .
According to Deadline:
Woody Harrelson will play Archie Bunker, with Marisa Tomei as wife Edith in the recreation of All In The Family. Jamie Foxx and Wanda Sykes take the roles of George and Louise Jefferson in the All in the Family spinoff, The Jeffersons.
Ellie Kemper will play Gloria Stivic, Will Ferrell will appear as Tom Willis and Justina Machado is set to play Florence Johnston, with more casting announcements to come.
An original episode from each original series will be recreated with James Burrows serving as director for both episodes. Lear and Jimmy Kimmel will host the live event, with Brent Miler, Adam McKay, Justin Theroux, and Will Ferrell as executive producers.
“The fact that a group of Oscar winners eagerly agreed to play these iconic characters is testament to the greatness of these shows and their creator, Norman Lear,” Jimmy Kimmel said, calling the project a “dream come true.”
Live In Front Of A Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All In The Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons’ will air Wednesday, May 22, 8-9:30 PM ET.