Jimmy Kimmel will stage live re-creations of two classic Norman Lear sitcoms for ABC, the late-night host announced on Thursday.
Set to take place on Wednesday, May 22, the 90-minute primetime special will re-create one episode each from “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons,” featuring an all-star cast led by Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomei starring as Archie and Edith Bunker, and Jamie Foxx and Wanda Sykes as George and Louise Jefferson.
Ellie Kemper will play Gloria Stivic; Will Ferrell will appear as Tom Willis, and Justina Machado is set to play Florence Johnston. Additional cast members will be announced in the future.
Veteran sitcom director James Burrows will direct the live special, with Lear, Kimmel, Ferrell, Brent Miller, Adam McKay and Justin Theroux on board as executive producers.
“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,” Kimmel said in a statement.
“We are so honored to partner with our brilliant friend Jimmy Kimmel and trailblazer Norman Lear to bring some of the most iconic sitcoms ever made back to television,” said ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke. “These revered shows are as culturally relevant today as they’ve ever been, and the talent they have gathered makes this the can’t-miss television event of the year … make that decade.”
“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,” said Lear.
“Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons'” will be produced by Smoking Baby Productions, ACT III Productions, Gary Sanchez Productions and Sony Pictures Television.
“We are honored and elated to be involved in retelling these groundbreaking stories, which are as relevant today as they were 40 years ago when they first aired. And to be working with such brilliant icons as Norman Lear and Jimmy Kimmel, as well as this dream cast, in this exciting new format, is nothing short of amazing!” added Sony Pictures Television Studios president Jeff Frost and co-presidents Chris Parnell and Jason Clodfelter.