Norman Lear Set for 'American Masters' Documentary (Exclusive)

Art Streiber

The project will feature new interviews with Lear, George Clooney, Carl and Rob Reiner and more.

Norman Lear is getting the American Masters treatment.

The prolific TV writer and producer will be the center of an upcoming installment of the PBS docuseries, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

American Masters: Norman Lear (working title) will explore Lear's turbulent childhood, his social activism, and most importantly his groundbreaking work in TV sitcoms. As the creator of All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Maude, Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time and Good Times, among many others, approximately 120 million viewers tuned into Lear's shows every week at the height of his career. In addition to his work onscreen, Lear also co-founded People for the American Way in 1981.

The documentary will feature interviews with John Amos, George Clooney, Marla Gibbs, Alan Horn, Louise Lasser, Bill Moyers, Mary Kay Place, Carl Reiner, Rob Reiner and Russell Simmons.

Oscar nominees Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp) will direct, and their Loki Films banner will co-produce with American Masters. Suzanne Hillinger will also produce the documentary, which is expected to premiere on PBS in fall 2016.

"It’s astounding to be a subject of American Masters when in your heart you know you are still only nine years old," said Lear.

"Norman Lear is a hero for me and for anyone who makes programs for television," said American Masters executive producer Michael Kantor. "I’m thrilled that we can include him in the roster of distinguished American Masters, and Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady of Loki Films are the ideal filmmakers to tackle his rich and complex story."

Over the course of his 64-year career, Lear has won four Emmy awards, a Peabody award and the National Medal of Arts, and is a member of the Television Academy Hall of Fame. He also released a memoir, Even This I Get to Experience, in 2014.

Lear joins recent subjects including August Wilson and Bing CrosbyAmerican Masters hails from Thirteen Productions.

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