Welcome to a new Wildcard Wednesday! This week, we’re looking forward to the upcoming Live In Front Of A Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All In The Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons,’ which will be telecast by ABC on May 22nd. As you’re likely aware, this 90-minute show will include star-studded reinterpretations of an episode from each of those two aforementioned series — using the original scripts. What you might NOT know, however, is that a version of this project has been in development for nearly three years now, and I was peripherally involved in an earlier iteration (with different producers): an anthology series tentatively titled Norman Lear Theatre.

The pitched concept was a 24-episode season that would rotate between six weeks each of All In The Family, The Jeffersons, Maude, and Good Times. Because of my work on this blog, I was called upon to help the producers select the entries to pitch for re-creation. I won’t get into why the project fell through — basically, I think the timing was off, and with hindsight, I think many of the parties involved were more interested in a special (or two) than an actual series — but I thought you’d be interested to see which episodes I pitched to the producers. As you’ll notice, I broke down my selections into three categories based on different purposes — “GO FOR BROKE,” “ROOM TO GROW,” and “SIMPLY THE BEST” — before ultimately narrowing down my choices to a final six. Also, with Good Times, a series that I have not covered here in full, I revisited the first three seasons (the ones with John Amos) and used a different categorization. Here are the documents I presented. Enjoy!



Stay tuned for next Tuesday when Sitcom Tuesday FINALLY returns to all new coverage! And come back next Wednesday for another Wildcard entry!

4 thoughts on “An Almost: NORMAN LEAR THEATRE

  1. Great picks! Would have loved to see someone take on Maude.

    Do you think you’ll ever do Good Times here? (Not my favorite at all incidentally.)

    • Hi, Elaine! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      I’ll never say “never” — so instead I’ll just say “outlook not good.”

  2. Hi Jackson: Reading about the upcoming remakes of “All In the Family” and “The Jeffersons” I couldn’t help but be reminded of “The Rerun Show” from the early 2000s, which included “The Jeffersons” among the shows it remade, although it’s probably best remembered today for Paul Vogt’s impersonation of Charlotte Rae’s Mrs. Garrett. What are your thoughts on “The Rerun Show”? I found it over the top and hilarious, and sort of ahead of its time.

    • Hi, Raul! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      I can appreciate THE RERUN SHOW for its love of these older shows and its parodical charms. But I, frankly, don’t give much thought to this kind of sketch-like satire — I prefer longer-form, more character-based stuff, like the shows being spoofed.

      I’ll be interested to see how this upcoming special treats its source material, especially how much of the proverbial tongue will be in the proverbial cheek… I hope not too much.

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