Sony Eyes Other Norman Lear Reboots in New TV Deal With Iconic Producer

Norman Lear - The Business Career Reflection presented by SAG -Getty-H 2017
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Sony Pictures Television has a very special birthday gift for Norman Lear.

The iconic producer behind Netflix's One Day at a Time reboot has signed a two-year first-look deal with the indie studio that includes the option to re-imagine titles from his extensive library, including iconic series All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Maude and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, among others. The deal paves the way for Sony to mine Lear's library for other reboots after finding critical success with Netflix's updated take on the prolific producer's One Day at a Time.

"I couldn't be prouder and more excited about joining Sony Pictures Television, who has the guts to go with a kid,” Lear said Thursday, which also happened to be his 96th birthday.

News of the Sony deal follows years of rumors and speculation that the studio was looking to revisit some of Lear's beloved and ground-breaking shows. In 2015, Lear and Sony were mulling an updated take on All in the Family, the Emmy-winning sitcom about at a bigoted working-class guy named Archie Bunker (played by Caroll O'Conner). A year later, the idea was to have the biggest stars of the era step into the shoes of Lear's iconic characters for a string of miniseries. Both of those ideas were under different executive regimes at the studio. Sources say nothing is currently in the works as part of the pact with Lear and his Act III production company and his producing partner, Brent Miller. Sony acquired the rights to most of Lear's TV library via its 1985 acquisition of the producer's Ebassy Communications.

"We couldn't be more thrilled to be expanding our relationship with Brent and Norman," SPT president Jeff Frost and co-presidents Chris Parnell and Jason Clodfelter said. "Norman is an icon in our industry and it’s a dream come true to be working with him. We’re excited to create more magic with Norman and Brent."

In addition to Netflix's One Day at a Time, based on his 1972 series of the same name but rebooted with a Cuban-American family, Lear most recently went to pilot at NBC on Guess Who Died? The single-camera comedy that starred Holland Taylor, Hector Elizondo and Christopher Lloyd and based on his personal experience is a look at the shared joys and challenges people experience at any stage of life. The comedy has been a longtime passion project for Lear and was developed by former NBC exec Jennifer Salke, who sources say is eyeing a potential series pickup after the broadcast network passed on the pilot. 

During his career, Lear has earned an Oscar nomination (for writing Divorce American Style), four Emmys (all of them for All in the Family) and a prestigious Peabody Award. He was among the first seven people to be inducted into the TV Academy's Hall of Fame in 1984.

Season three of Netflix's One Day at a Time, from Sony TV and exec producers Mike Royce, Gloria Calderon Kellet and Lear, returns in 2019.