Norman Lear might have made a little extra history on Tuesday night at the very start of the third Live in Front of a Studio Audience special. At the beginning of the broadcast, he was censored, prompting Jimmy Kimmel to suggest he may have been the oldest person to ever use the f-word on television. The special featured stars recreating episodes of Lear's classic shows The Facts of Life and Diff'rent Strokes.
During their introduction, Kimmel showed praise on Lear, reminding viewers at home of his incredible life and career. He pointed out that Lear is a World War II veteran, which made the date of the special – the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor – more meaningful. Lear is "not just one of the great producers of all time, but one of the great people of all time," Kimmel said.
Lear is 99 and will celebrate his 100th birthday in July. "What wisdom can you share with us from your 99 years on this planet earth?" Kimmel asked. "Two little words we don't think enough about," Lear said. "Over and next. When something is over, it's – you used the word so I will – it's f-ing over. Only you didn't do it on camera!"
Although it was live, ABC's censors did bleep out Lear's curse. "I will say that, never before in the history of American television, has a 99-year-old person used the f-word," Kimmel said. "So congratulations. Another feather in your cap."
Kimmel and Lear then introduced the first half of the special, a recreation of an episode from The Facts of Life, the Diff'rent Strokes spin-off that originally aired from 1979 to 1988. The episode they recreated was "Kids Can Be Cruel" from Season 3. Ann Dowd, Gabrielle Union, Jennifer Aniston, Allison Tolman, and Jon Stewart headlined the cast, with Will Arnett and Jason Bateman both making unannounced appearances. The special will be available on Hulu Wednesday and will re-air on ABC Wednesday, Dec. 22.
"I know it's a cliché to say it's a labor of love, but it really is that for all of us," Kimmel told Forbes about the specials. "Nobody in this cast gets paid anywhere near what they would get paid to do something like this. Everyone is doing it because of their respect for Norman and their admiration for what he's done and how important he is to the history of television and as a human being as well."