'Live in Front of a Studio Audience' Being Prepped for Future Editions by ABC

Hollywood never lets a successful idea go without taking another shot at it, so it is no surprise to hear ABC is considering a follow-up to last month's surprising hit Live In Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear's 'All in the Family' and 'The Jeffersons.'

"It is something that we looked at as a franchise if it worked, and we didn't know if it would work," Karey Burke, ABC President of Entertainment, told Deadline Monday. "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."

The 90-minute special aired on Wednesday, May 22 and drew an astonishing 10.36 million viewers and a 1.7 rating in the 18-49 demographic. Add in the Saturday repeat, and the show reached 15 million viewers in its first few days just on traditional television, Burke said the show reached 22 million viewers in total since May 22, with streaming included.

The special was the top-rated Wednesday show for the 2018-2019 season for ABC, aside from the CMA Awards in November. It did far better than host Jimmy Kimmel suggested when he came up with the idea for the show, Burke said.

"We've been leaning really hard into live event programming," Burke said. "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."

Live In Front of a Studio Audience featured an all-star cast recreating episodes from All In The Family and The Jeffersons. The cast included Woody Harrelson, Jamie Foxx, Marissa Tomei, Wanda Sykes, Will Ferrell, Ellie Kemper, Anthony Anderson, Kerry Washington, Ike Barinholtz, Amerber Stevens West, Justina Machado, Stephen Tobolowsky, Jackee Harry and Sean Hayes.

Marla Gibbs, who played George and Louise Jeffersons' made Florence in the original episodes made a surprise appearance. Jennifer Hudson also delivered a show-stopping performance of The Jeffersons' title song, "Movin' On Up."

The project was Kimmel's idea, as he wanted to introduce the hit 1970s shows to a new audience and highlight how relevant they still are.


"For me, the inspiration is the work of Norman Lear and the great television shows that I want to make sure are not forgotten by a new generation," Kimmel told USA Today. "They're important shows, just as important as anything in our culture. I think television is seen as less than that sometimes, but to me and my family, these are shows we love and learned from."

Photo credit: ABC