Norman Lear has been breaking boundaries for decades, and he’s still not afraid to speak his mind.
The television icon — who created “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons” and “One Day At A Time,” among other prolific series — spoke about the state of family sitcoms on Friday at the ATX Television Festival in Austin, Texas. And he got in a few words about Donald Trump.
When asked about creating topical television, Lear noted how times were different with the original “One Day At A Time,” which was shot on a weekly basis when it aired in the 1970’s and ’80s. Now, Lear is gearing up for his reboot of the show on Netflix, which will shoot the entire first season in advance of the premiere.
“We’re making all 13 [episodes] before the first one airs. That’s a brand new experience,” Lear said, speaking on a panel, moderated by Variety‘s Debra Birnbaum. “We won’t learn whatever it is that we learned from a live, national audience.”
Despite the new production schedule, Lear says that the show — which is centered around a Cuban-American family — will still be topical.
“Topical, for me, is the juice of life. It’s always topical…nothing’s changed,” he said. “I’m learning a great deal as we go on, too, so it’s great. It’s everyday problems…that were as much true 40 years ago as they are today. We don’t change.”
Panelist Nahnatchka Khan of “Fresh Off the Boat” chimed in, agreeing that her show’s production schedule does not allow for as much topical content as some other series.
“‘South Park’ is amazing with how timely they’re able to be,” she said. “But they work around the close for weeks at a time and months at a time.”
The entire panel, including David Windsor of “The Real O’Neals,” Phil Rosenthal of “Everybody Loves Raymond” and Hollis Rich of “State of Grace,” all agreed that despite the learning curve of streaming TV, the new fall television season will include storylines that parallel this year’s election — especially the Republican nominee.
“I view Donald Trump as the middle finger of the American right hand,” Lear quipped.