Tonight, two sitcoms are being revived for one night on ABC.
That’s right, tonight, May 22, ABC will present two live-recreations of All in the Family and The Jeffersons. The special will last 90 minutes and will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmell. The all-star lineup includes Woody Harrelson, Jamie Foxx, Marisa Tomei, and Wanda Sykes. Other special guests include Kerry Washington, Will Ferrell, Anthony Anderson, Justina Machado, and others.
The fun will go down on ABC at 8pm ET/PT.
Woody Harrelson will be playing Archie, with Jamie Foxx as George. The special will feature an episode of each series from the original script.
Speaking to USA Today recently, Jimmy Kimmel, who is executive producing the special, shared, “Woody and Jamie were the first people we asked, and they both agreed immediately… I texted them, and within a minute, I got a text back saying, ‘Yes, I’m in. I want to do this.”
In the words of USA Today, Kimmel “hopes the special reintroduces comedies that entertained as they dealt with serious and controversial issues, including race, prejudice, sexual assault and social inequality, that are still debated today.”
The late night talk show host tells the outlet, “For me, the inspiration is the work of Norman Lear and the great television shows that I want to make sure are not forgotten by a new generation,” he says. “They’re important shows, just as important as anything in our culture. I think television is seen as less than that sometimes, but to me and my family, these are shows we love and learned from.”
All in the Family was originally broadcast on the CBS network from 1971 to 1979, while The Jeffersons aired from 1975 to 1985, lasting 11 seasons.
ABC has not released the name of the episodes that will be staged, but according to USA Today, they’re expected to be “Henry’s Farewell”, and “A Friend In Need”, from the 1975 Jefferson premiere.
Norman Lear has gone down in history as one of the most successful television writers and producers of all time. He was in charge of 1970s sitcoms like Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, Good Times, and Maude. In 1981, he founded the advocacy organization People for the American Way. Kimmel tells Variety that All in the Family and The Jeffersons are two of the greatest and most important shows in TV history.
“[Lear] did so much for freedom of speech and inclusivity,” Kimmel tells Variety. “We’d be way behind without him.”
Be sure to tune into the special tonight on ABC at 8pm ET/PT.