Jimmy Kimmel and Justin Theroux Team for Live Sitcom Special at ABC

The untitled project will see classic sitcom scripts from the '70s, '80s and '90s acted out live by current comedy stars.
Todd Williamson/Getty Images; Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage
Jimmy Kimmel (left), Justin Theroux

Jimmy Kimmel is expanding his reach at ABC.

The late-night host is teaming with Justin Theroux for a live sitcom special at the network, it was announced Tuesday during ABC's upfront presentation.

The untitled project will see classic sitcom scripts from the '70s, '80s and '90s acted out live by current comedy stars. Kimmel and Theroux will executive produce the special, which will be taped in front of a studio audience. Smoking Baby Productions will produce.

News of the special comes hours after ABC confirmed that Kimmel will return as host for the 2018 Oscars.

“Jimmy Kimmel has proven to be a preeminent voice in comedy, with 15 seasons of Jimmy Kimmel Live under his belt and successfully tackling the herculean task of hosting both the Emmys and the Oscars in the same season,” network president Channing Dungey said in a statement. “Likewise, Justin Theroux’s versatile talents are showcased in every project he takes on. We are thrilled to be developing a new sitcom experience that will combine Jimmy’s mastery of live television and Justin’s irreverent sensibilities.”

Added Kimmel: “I spent most of my childhood in front of a TV set, obsessively watching comedies from great producers like Norman Lear, Jim Burrows, James L. Brooks and Garry Marshall. This is a way for a new generation of viewers to discover these classics and a new generation of actors to play characters they love, live in front of a studio audience.”  

Kimmel has been in the news in recent weeks following his heartfelt monologue on his May 1 telecast about his newborn's open-heart surgery. Because of his son' health complications, Kimmel did not travel to New York for Tuesday's upfront for his regular ABC monologue, as he has done in recent years. 

Meanwhile, Theroux is coming off of an acclaimed three-season run on HBO's The Leftovers. In addition to his acting career, he also is known for his work as a screenwriter, which includes the scripts for Tropic Thunder, Iron Man 2 and Zoolander 2, among others.

Live programming has clearly become a priority for ABC. In addition to reviving American Idol for the 2017-18 season, the network on Tuesday unveiled two new live musicals, one about The Little Mermaid and one inspired by the publication Rolling Stone coinciding with its 50th anniversary. 

The decision to look back at the classic sitcoms of yesteryear comes as ABC prepares to reboot another classic sitcom for the 2017-18 season: Roseanne, which will return with the original castmembers for eight new episodes in 2018.

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