Jimmy Kimmel is stepping back into television history.
The late-night host announced on his show Thursday that he will be presenting a live 90-minute prime-time special with an all-star cast to honor and recreate two classic TV sitcoms, All in the Family and The Jeffersons. The special, airing May 22 on ABC, will be called Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All in the Family and The Jeffersons.
The television event will feature contemporary Hollywood stars taking on iconic sitcom characters, including Woody Harrelson as Archie Bunker, Marisa Tomei as Edith Bunker, and Jamie Foxx and Wanda Sykes as George and Louise Jefferson. Kimmel will cohost the event with Lear, the legendary TV producer who created both series in the 1970s. James Burrows, renowned for his direction of sitcoms such as Friends and Will and Grace, will direct the live proceedings.
“The fact that a group of Oscar winners eagerly agreed to play these iconic characters is a testament to the greatness of these shows and their creator, Norman Lear,” Kimmel said in a statement. “To be a part of this is a dream come true for me and for everyone involved.”
Other stars on board include Ellie Kemper as Gloria Stivic, Will Ferrell as Tom Willis, and Justina Machado as Florence Johnston. More names are still to come. Ferrell, Brent Miller, Adam McKay, and Justin Theroux are executive producing alongside Kimmel and Lear.
“They have said over and over again that these two shows were meant for the ’70s and would not work today,” Lear said in a statement. “We disagree with them and are here to prove, with two great casts depicting All in the Family and The Jeffersons, the timelessness of human nature. I cannot wait to see what these glorious performers make in our time of these indelible characters.”
The exact episodes to be recreated have yet to be revealed.
All in the Family aired on CBS from 1971 to 1979 and starred Carroll O’Connor as Archie Bunker, a highly opinionated, working-class family man who took refuge in his traditionally minded wife, Edith (Jean Stapleton), and argued with his liberal son-in-law, Michael “Meathead” Stivic (Rob Reiner). The series earned awards and praise for its tackling of controversial subjects like racism and women’s rights.
The Jeffersons spun off from All in the Family and ran from 1975 to 1985. It was the first television series to prominently feature an interracial couple (Tom and Helen Willis, played by Franklin Cover and Roxie Roker), and it was one of the longest-running African-American shows on television ever. It also grappled with contemporary issues, focusing on George and Louise Jefferson (Sherman Hensley and Isabel Sanford) moving to the east side and facing adjusting to life in a predominantly white neighborhood.
The two series were nominated for more than two dozen Emmy Awards combined, and All in the Family became the first of four sitcoms for which all four leading actors took home an Emmy.