ABC Lining up More 'Live in Front of a Studio Audience' Specials

After seeing success with the first go-around of Live in Front of Studio Audience, ABC has ordered two more installments of the special for the 2019-2020 season. The network made the announcement Monday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.

The first new special will air this winter and carry a holiday theme, while the second is slated for spring 2020. The classic sitcoms that will be the focus of each special will be announced at a later date, as will casting information.

Jimmy Kimmel and Norman Lear will return to executive produce the new specials, along with Brent Miller, Will Ferrell and Justin Theroux.

Earlier this year, ABC broadcasted Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear's All in the Family and The Jeffersons on May 22. The special pulled in a 1.8 rating in adults 18-49 and 10.4 million viewers in the Neilsen Live+Same Day ratings alone. That special starred Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomei as Archie and Edith Bunker, respectively, and Jamie Foxx and Wanda Sykes as George and Louise Jefferson, with many other stars playing the classic sitcom characters, including Jennifer Hudson's belting out of The Jeffersons' "Movin' On Up" theme song and Marla Gibbs' surprise appearance reprising her role as George and Louise Jefferson's maid Florence Johnston.

The first Live in Front of a Studio Audience recently received three Emmy nominations, including one for best live variety special.

The second and third installments will be produced by Kimmelot, ACT III Productions, Gary Sanchez Productions, D'Arconville and Sony Pictures Television.

In June, ABC’s President of Entertainment Karey Burke revealed that they looked at Live in Front of a Studio Audience as a franchise.

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“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,” she said. “We’ve been leaning really hard into live event programming. It introduced a whole new generation of people to those shows and those themes in a way that hadn’t been done before and I don’t know if that’s something that would have been as relevant on streaming.”

ABC also recently announced that Kimmel will be partnering with producer Mark Burnett on a new comedy quiz show entitled Generation Gap, which will group family members of different generations who must work together to answer questions about each other's generations. The show will feature a variety of pop culture trivia and challenges, with more details to be announced at a later date.

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