Tonight (May 22) will be a historic event as today’s stars pay tribute to all-time great television shows on “Live In Front Of A Studio Audience”. The 1970’s and 1980’s hit tv show “The Jeffersons” along with All In The Family will see a one night reboot. Jimmy Kimmel came up with the idea to bring back these classic shows with a live re-enactment.
As mentioned in the video above, the creator of the shows, Norman Lear explains how these episodes will shock people as the program gets a one night platform to present itself to a modern audience.
Of course, playing the characters of Archie Bunker and George Jefferson could be a daunting task for any actor. Woody Harrelson is up for the challenge, but he did feel there would be some pressure to play the controversial Archie Bunker.
“All in the Family was a big part of my childhood. We watched it every week. I’m a big fan of the show,” the actor said in an interview. “But I’ve got to admit it’s daunting, because Carroll O’Connor is so great. It’s kind of like wanting to take on A Streetcar Named Desire with the knowledge that obviously no one can do it better than Brando. So I don’t really want to try to do better than him. I’m trying to do my own thing.”
The team putting together the cast did not pull any punches. They have brought together a who’s who in the entertainment business. Some academy award winners have been contacted to pull off this endeavor.
Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All in the Family and The Jeffersons, which airs Wednesday, May 22, on ABC.
The cast includes Marisa Tomei (as Edith Bunker), Ellie Kemper and Ike Barinholtz (Gloria and Mike “Meathead” Stivic), Jamie Foxx and Wanda Sykes (George and Louise Jefferson), Will Ferrell and the recently announced Kerry Washington (Tom and Helen Willis), Justina Machado (Florence Johnston), Sean Hayes (Mr. Lorenzo), Anthony Anderson (Uncle Henry), Stephen Tobolowsky (Mr. Bentley), Jovan Adepo and Amber Stevens West (Lionel and Jenny Willis Jefferson), and Jackée Harry (Diane Stockwell) in recreating two episodes of the original 1970s sitcoms.
Norman Lear is the show’s creator and he will appear as the host for tonight’s festivities with Jimmy Kimmel who came up with the idea. The 10-time Emmy winner James Burrows will direct. Norman Lear is adamant to let fans know that “The show isn’t coming back so much as it’s being honored with the performance”.
WWETV Network will be streaming classic episodes and tributes to “All In The Family” and “The Jeffersons”. These two shows were groundbreaking and changed the course of television history.
Norman Lear wanted the show to have the original homes of The Bunkers and Jeffersons and this is exactly what will happen on tonight’s performance. The show’s items are American institutes as Archie’s iconic brown chair remains on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The show tonight will have a replica along with other pieces.
There is a concern by some fans that the shows will not be able to be politically incorrect as the originals. Woody Harrelson broaches the conversation piece by ensuring he did his best to incorporate the legendary Archie Bunker as much as possible.
“The times are so different now—much more conservative,” he said. “In fact, there’s a lot of episodes you couldn’t do [today] because of some of the things he says back then.”Woody Harrelson
Norman Lear explains how Archie Bunker was a man who was fearing his position in America was being threatened. It is with this notion that Lear believes which how the direction of the country of America is headed there are people out there that feel the same way as Archie did in the 1970’s.
“The times are so different now—much more conservative,” he said. “In fact, there’s a lot of episodes you couldn’t do [today] because of some of the things he says back then.”Norman Lear
Norman Lear still speaks on the possibility of the shows making a more serious return. Who knows maybe tonight’s episodes are a smashing hit that he can’t avoid the pressure of bringing back the shows weekly.
“It depends on how I feel everything went,” he said. “I mean, in an ideal world, I would certainly consider it and be able to give the American audience those characters again. Embodied differently and played differently with those characters, it would be exciting as hell.”Norman Lear
The Hollywood Reporter provides which actor will portray which character below. The main characters of George Jefferson and Louise Jefferson will be played by Jamie Foxx and Wanda Sykes, while Archie Bunker and Edith Bunker will be portrayed by Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomei.