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The duo behind the Live in Front of a Studio Audience franchise will next team for the Dec. 18 mashup of All in the Family and Good Times as the sequel to May’s All in the Family–The Jeffersons.
A holiday episode of All in the Family will be performed alongside an episode of Good Times that has yet to be revealed. It’s unclear whether the same cast from May’s All in the Family portion of the live event — including Woody Harrelson as Archie Bunker and Marisa Tomei as Edith Bunker — will return for ABC’s December production. Details on casting will be announced in the coming weeks.
“The holiday season is the perfect time for families to come together and enjoy another Live in Front of a Studio Audience special on ABC,” ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke said Tuesday in a statement, mere hours before the network’s broadcast of The Little Mermaid Live. “Only Jimmy and Norman can top what they accomplished the first time. From the superstar talent to the unforgettable music and the richly deserved Emmy win, their collective vision has introduced a whole new generation of people to these groundbreaking and timeless stories — and now with Good Times as part of the lineup, this will surely be another can’t-miss television event.”
Kerry Washington — who played Helen Willis in the Jeffersons portion — has boarded ABC’s Live in Front of a Studio Audience as an executive producer alongside franchise captains Lear and Kimmel. Lear’s producing partner Brent Miller, Will Ferrell and Justin Theroux are all returning as exec producers on the special, which hails from Sony Pictures Television.
Good Times — a spinoff of All in the Family spinoff Maude — aired for six seasons from 1974-1979 on CBS. Produced by Lear, it was TV’s first family sitcom that featured two African-American parents. Esther Rolle, John Amos, Jimmie Walker and Janet Jackson starred.
“Being a part of Norman Lear’s world was a career highlight, and working with great actors on these great shows was so much fun, we couldn’t resist tackling a holiday episode of All in the Family and one of my favorites, Good Times,” said Kimmel.
ABC in August announced two more Live specials from Lear and Kimmel. Beyond the holiday episode, another special will air next spring. Which titles will be part of the spring edition of the Live franchise have yet to be determined.
“I don’t know which is greater — bringing back Good Times or co-hosting with Jimmy Kimmel?” Lear said.
The May 22 hourlong live comedy starring Washington, Jamie Foxx, Harrelson and Tomei managed to break through a cluttered landscape and achieve double ABC’s average viewership. The special, hosted and executive produced by Kimmel and Lear, garnered 10.4 million same-day viewers and a 1.7 rating in the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic. The special also made Emmy history for Lear, who, with the show’s nod for outstanding variety special, became the oldest winner ever at 97. (The nomination arrived a mere 10 days before his 97th birthday, too.) The one-off also received warm reviews and currently has a 93 percent rating among critics on RottenTomatoes.com. The Hollywood Reporter chief TV critic Daniel Fienberg called it a “mixed bag, but definitely an experiment worth trying again.”
Live events continue to be in high demand across broadcast and cable as linear outlets look for DVR-proof programming to draw eyeballs in a crowded and competitive landscape in which they compete with a myriad of streamers and other entertainment platforms.
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