Jamie Foxx and Wanda Sykes are moving on up… to ABC network as the actors have been tapped to play George and Louise ‘Wheezy’ Jefferson in an upcoming live special premiering in May.
Recently it was announced that ABC networks would be teaming up with talk show host Jimmy Kimmel and legendary producer Norman Lear for a 90-minute, live tribute to classic sitcom All in the Family and its wildly successful spinoff, The Jeffersons. Entitled Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All in the Family and The Jeffersons.
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All in the Family aired between 1971 to 1979, while The Jeffersons, made popular in the households of many Black viewers for its portrayal of a wealthy African-American family, aired even longer, lasting between 1975 to 1985. Lear produced both shows. As the longest-running series with almost all black cast, The Jeffersons paved the way for the creation of other all-black sitcoms like “The Cosby Show” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” The Jeffersons was the first show to feature an interracial couple with Helen and Tom Willis, the Jeffersons’ neighbors and friends.
Other A-List actors tapped to feature in the one-night only show include Woody Harrelson, who will play Archie Bunker of All in the Family. Will Ferrell, Marisa Tomei, Ellie Kemper and Justina Machado will also star in ABC’s live comedy event.
The television special will re-create an original episode from both of the Emmy-winning comedies. Lear and Kimmel will host the evening.
“The fact that a group of Oscar winners eagerly agreed to play these iconic characters is a testament to the greatness of these shows and their creator, Norman Lear. To be a part of this is a dream come true for me and for everyone involved,” Kimmel said in a statement obtained by ABC.
Lear also added, “They have said over and over again that these two shows were meant for the ’70s and would not work today. We disagree with them and are here to prove, with two great casts depicting All in the Family and The Jeffersons, the timelessness of human nature. I cannot wait to see what these glorious performers make in our time of these indelible characters, and I couldn’t be more grateful for Jimmy Kimmel, Sony and ABC for their collective willingness to conceive and pursue this never-been-done-before event.”
Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All in the Family and The Jeffersons will air May 22 at 8pm EDT, only on ABC.