Sony Pictures Television is in very early stages of rebooting several classic sitcoms from TV legend Norman Lear as miniseries — including “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons,” and “Good Times” — Variety has learned exclusively.
The idea currently being discussed by Lear and Sony executives would be to have new actors recreate classic episodes of the shows, working from the original scripts, and package them as short, six-episode anthologies. The scripts would be treated similar to plays being mounted in new productions.
“There is some talk about doing some of the original shows, redoing them with today’s stars,” Lear told Variety. “There is a possibility that we’ll do ‘All in the Family,’ ‘Maude,’ ‘The Jeffersons,’ “Good Times.'”
Discussions about remaking more of Lear’s catalogue come as Sony gears up for the premiere of the new “One Day at a Time,” which re-imagines Lear’s ’80s sitcom about a single mother raising two children. The new series, which premieres on Netflix Jan. 6, focuses on a Latino family with a female Army veteran at its center.
Lear serves as executive producer on the new “One Day at a Time,” with original scripts coming from the show’s writing staff and showrunners Gloria Calderon-Kellett and Mike Royce, with contributions from Lear.
Sony has been in discussions with Lear about the miniseries-reboot concept since before development began on “One Day at a Time.” That series was developed specifically for Netflix, and was never shopped to other buyers. No network or streaming service is yet attached to the miniseries projects.
The miniseries project is a separate idea from the possible “All in the Family” reboot that Lear discussed two years ago at a Paley Center event, which would have seen the show revived with new characters, possibly Latino. That idea was set aside in favor of the new “One Day at a Time.”
“We’re exploring it,” Glenn Adilman, executive vice president of comedy development for Sony told Variety. “It’s sort of tricky to figure out what the business of that is and what that would be and how it would work. But its something we’re trying to figure out.”
Adilman added, “It’s tricky for a lot of reasons, and it’s something we’re exploring.”
Sony controls most of Lear’s TV library through its 1985 acquisition of the producer’s Embassy Communications.