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Kerry Washington To Play Helen Willis Of ‘The Jeffersons’ For ‘Live In Front Of A Studio Audience’ For ABC

Comedy News

Kerry Washington joins “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons,’” the live sitcom special coming from late-night host Jimmy Kimmel and television icon Norman Lear. Washington is set to play Helen Willis in the special, airing live WEDNESDAY, MAY 22 (8:00-9:31 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. This historic event will take viewers down memory lane, recreating an original episode from each of the Emmy® Award-winning series “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons.” This legendary night of television will be hosted by Lear and Kimmel, directed by 10-time Emmy winner James Burrows and produced by Sony Pictures Television.

Previously announced stars include Woody Harrelson (Archie Bunker), Marisa Tomei (Edith Bunker), Jamie Foxx (George Jefferson), Wanda Sykes (Louise Jefferson), Ellie Kemper (Gloria Stivic), Will Ferrell (Tom Willis), Justina Machado (Florence Johnston), Ike Barinholtz (Meathead), Sean Hayes (Mr. Lorenzo), Amber Stevens West (Jenny Willis Jefferson), Jovan Adepo (Lionel Jefferson),  Anthony Anderson (Uncle Henry), Stephen Tobolowsky (Mr. Bentley) and Jackée Harry (Diane Stockwell).

From 1971 through 1979, “All in the Family” was in the homes of millions of Americans, tackling controversial subjects for the first time such as women’s rights, racism and homosexuality. The series followed Archie Bunker as the highly opinionated, working-class family man who viewed the world on his terms. When not arguing with his liberal son-in-law, Archie took refuge in his wife, Edith, who tried to understand Archie’s conservative ways and outdated beliefs. The award-winning series shaped ongoing political and social conversations among American families in the post-civil rights era.

The success of “All in the Family” launched “The Jeffersons,” running from 1975 to 1985. It was the first television series to feature an interracial couple, and it would go on to be one of the longest-running African-American shows on TV. The series followed George and Louise Jefferson moving on up to the east side and showcasing what it was like to be successful in a predominantly white world. The series changed the landscape and helped shift conversations about race and class, paving the way for other African-American actors and TV shows.

“Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons’” will be produced by Smoking Baby Productions, ACT III Productions, Gary Sanchez Productions and Sony Pictures Television. Norman Lear, Jimmy Kimmel, Brent Miller, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Justin Theroux will executive produce; and the live special will be directed by James Burrows.

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