ABC Looking To Make ‘Live’ Shows An Event Franchise After Success Of ‘All In The Family/Jeffersons’ Special

Eric McCandlessABC

ABC is reportedly looking to tweak their future programming lineup after the success of their All In The Family and The Jeffersons live shows. The network is considering making these types of programs their own event franchise, as reported by Deadline.

The entertainment news outlet reported that the ABC’s President of Entertainment Karey Burke revealed that 22 million viewers have watched the surprise blockbuster special since its May 25 premiere.

“It is something that we looked at as a franchise if it worked, and we didn’t know if it would work,” she said. “We didn’t know if people would still care and it was nice they did. With something like that we would look to return it, not on a weekly basis, I think these things are tentpoles around which we can build sustaining weekly scripted programming, to use as a big circulation play.”

It was the vision of late-night television host Jimmy Kimmel to bring the iconic shows to life once again, working alongside television legend Norman Lear’s to revisit his groundbreaking series’.

The show, titled Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All in the Family and The Jeffersons starred Woody Harrelson, Marisa Tomei, Jamie Foxx, Wanda Sykes, Will Ferrell, Ellie Kemper, Kerry Washington, Anthony Anderson, Ike Barinholtz, Sean Hayes, Jackee Harry, Jovan Adepo, Jennifer Hudson and The Jeffersons series regular Marla Gibbs, who reprised her role as the sassy maid of Louise and George Jefferson, Florence Johnston.

While it was a risk to tackle some of the sensitive subjects that Lear handled with deft and dexterity in the 1970s (All In The Family ran on CBS from 1971 through 1979, and The Jeffersons aired from 1975 to 1985), a time when political correctness didn’t reign supreme, the special still managed to deliver exactly the message intended; that in order for people to change their views, they have to give one another a chance to be heard.

The All In The Family episode that was chosen to be remade involved a going away party for George Jefferson’s brother. The Jeffersons highlighted the titular family’s move from Queens to Manhattan, leaving behind the comfort of the neighborhood they shared with The Bunker Family.

The original series cast for The Jeffersons included Isabel Sanford, Sherman Hemsley, Marla Gibbs, Roxie Roker, Franklin Cover, Paul Benedict, Mike Evans, and Berlinda Tolbert.

All In The Family starred Carroll O’Connor, Jean Stapleton, Sally Struthers, Rob Reiner, and Danielle Brisebois.