×

Live ‘The Jeffersons,’ ‘All in the Family’ Special Poised to Shake Up Several Emmy Acting Races (EXCLUSIVE)

Marla Gibbs never won an Emmy for playing Florence Johnston on “The Jeffersons” for 11 seasons. But now she may get her chance.

Sony Pictures TV is submitting the cast of Wednesday night’s ABC special “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons'” for Emmy consideration — including Gibbs, who was a surprise, unannounced performer on the program, reprising her role as the Jeffersons’ maid.

Live in Front of a Studio Audience” will compete in the outstanding variety special (live) race, which makes sense; the category is specifically for variety specials that are live, and the ABC event fits the bill.

But there is no category anymore for variety program performers, which poses a problem for events like “Live in Front of a Studio Audience.” Last year, NBC’s “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” successfully entered several of its stars in the outstanding limited series/TV movie performer categories (earning nominations for John Legend, Sara Bareilles and Brandon Victor Dixon), and that’s where Sony will submit the “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” players as well.

Specifically, being submitted in the outstanding lead actor and actress in a limited series/TV movie categories are Marisa Tomei (Edith Bunker), Woody Harrelson (Archie Bunker), Jamie Foxx (George Jefferson) and Wanda Sykes (Louise Jefferson).

In the outstanding supporting actor/actress in a limited series/TV movie categories, submissions will include Ellie Kemper (Gloria Stivic), Will Ferrell (Tom Willis), Kerry Washington (Helen Willis), Anthony Anderson (Uncle Henry), Fran Bennett (Mother Jefferson), Ike Barinholtz (Mike “Meathead” Stivic) and Gibbs.

LIVE IN FRONT OF A STUDIO AUDIENCE: NORMAN LEAR'S 'ALL IN THE FAMILY' AND 'THE JEFFERSONS' - ABC's late-night host Jimmy Kimmel presents a live, 90-minute prime-time event in tribute to classic television sitcoms. 'Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear's 'All in the Family' and 'The Jeffersons'' teams Kimmel with television icon Norman Lear and executive producers Brent Miller, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Justin Theroux. This special, airing live WEDNESDAY, MAY 22 (8:00-9:33 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network, will take viewers down memory lane, recreating an original episode from each of the Emmy¨ Award-winning series 'All in the Family' and 'The Jeffersons.' This legendary night of television will be hosted by Lear and Kimmel, and directed by 10-time Emmy winner James Burrows. (ABC/Eric McCandless)WANDA SYKES, ELLIE KEMPER, MARISA TOMEI, IKE BARINHOLTZ, WOODY HARRELSON, JOVAN ADEPO, ANTHONY ANDERSON
CREDIT: ABC

The move could upend the limited series/TV movie acting races, adding some big names like Foxx, Harrelson, Tomei, Ferrell, Sykes and others to what is already a crowded field with A-list talent. Without them, the leading contenders in the limited series/TV movie actress race include Patricia Arquette, Amy Adams, Michelle Williams, Joey King, Julianna Margulies, Emma Stone and Connie Britton, while the actor race includes Mahershala Ali, Hugh Grant, Sam Rockwell, Ian McShane, Anthony Hopkins and Benicio Del Toro.

Sony is able to split genre categories because “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” fits the TV Academy’s loose definition of a television movie: “Defined as an original program, which tells a story with beginning, middle and end, and is broadcast in one part with a minimum running time of 75 minutes.” The special ran for 90 minutes, and the back-to-back “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” episodes had a loose thruline, as the Jeffersons appeared in both.

The ability to submit the “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” stars in limited series/TV movie categories also solves the issue of where to put the performers, as the TV Academy abolished a variety program performer category in 2008. Principal hosts and performers are allowed to be included on the entry for outstanding variety special (live), but there’s a limit of just five entrants. When executive producers like Jimmy Kimmel, Norman Lear and others are included, there’s no room for all the performers as well.

LIVE IN FRONT OF A STUDIO AUDIENCE: NORMAN LEAR'S 'ALL IN THE FAMILY' AND 'THE JEFFERSONS' - ABC's late-night host Jimmy Kimmel presents a live, 90-minute prime-time event in tribute to classic television sitcoms. 'Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear's 'All in the Family' and 'The Jeffersons'' teams Kimmel with television icon Norman Lear and executive producers Brent Miller, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Justin Theroux. This special, airing live WEDNESDAY, MAY 22 (8:00-9:33 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network, will take viewers down memory lane, recreating an original episode from each of the Emmy¨ Award-winning series 'All in the Family' and 'The Jeffersons.' This legendary night of television will be hosted by Lear and Kimmel, and directed by 10-time Emmy winner James Burrows. (ABC/Eric McCandless)ANTHONY ANDERSON, WANDA SYKES, JACKƒE HARRY, FRAN BENNETT, MARLA GIBBS, JOVAN ADEPO, JAMES BURROWS (DIRECTOR), AMBER STEVENS WEST, BRENT MILLER (EXECUTIVE PRODUCER), NORMAN LEAR (EXECUTIVE PRODUCER), STEPHEN TOBOLOWSKY, WOODY HARRELSON, IKE BARINHOLTZ, WILL FERRELL, KERRY WASHINGTON, JUSTIN THEROUX (EXECUTIVE PRODUCER), SEAN HAYES, MARISA TOMEI, JIMMY KIMMEL (EXECUTIVE PRODUCER), ELLIE KEMPER, JENNIFER HUDSON, JAMIE FOXX
CREDIT: ABC

The original “All in the Family” did quite well at the Emmy Awards, winning outstanding comedy series in 1972, 1973 and 1978. In the lead comedy categories, Carroll O’Connor won four Emmys (out of eight nominations) for playing Archie Bunker, while Jean Stapleton, as Edith, was nominated eight times and won three of those.

Sally Struthers, as Gloria, was nominated five times as supporting comedy actress and won twice, while Rob Reiner, as Mike, was also nominated five times, and won two, in the comedy supporting actor field.

As for “The Jeffersons,” the show itself was never nominated for best comedy, but Isabel Sanford was nominated seven times for playing Louise Jefferson — and won the outstanding lead actress in a comedy Emmy in 1981. Sherman Hemsley, as George Jefferson, was nominated just once, in 1984, while Gibbs earned five nods as Florence during the show’s run.

More TV

  • NEW YORK, NY – JUNE, 24:

    LGBTQ Stars Honored at Variety’s Power of Pride Celebration

    New York City felt the full power of pride on Monday, as Variety celebrated its inaugural issue devoted to the annual recognition of LGBTQ people worldwide. At an intimate gathering at lower east side Manhattan hotel The Orchid, rooftop bar Mr. Purple hosted Variety’s cover stars and luminaries for cocktails and the unveiling of the [...]

  • WWE

    WWE and PP Sports Extend China Partnership

    WWE and PP Sports have signed a new multi-year agreement that will keep WWE programming airing live in Mandarin in China. In the past three years of the partnership, PP Sports has delivered more than 300 episodes of WWE programming. PP Sports will offer “Raw,” “Smackdown” and the WWE Network as a subscription VOD service [...]

  • Billy Eichner Power of Pride Variety

    Billy Eichner on Taylor Swift's 'Calm Down' Backlash

    When Taylor Swift released her “You Need to Calm Down” music video, it seemed like every member of the LGBTQ in Hollywood was included — except for Billy Eichner. “I’m still not gay enough for Taylor Swift — or too gay — I don’t know what it is,” Eichner joked at Variety’s Power of Pride [...]

  • HIGHWIRE LIVE IN TIMES SQUARE WITH

    TV News Roundup: 'Highwire Live in Times Square' Tops Sunday Night Ratings

    In today’s TV news roundup, ABC’s “Highwire Live in Times Square” tops Sunday night ratings, and “Total Bellas” has been renewed for a fifth season. DATES FX will air the special event “Peabody Presents: Stories of the Year” on July 7. The program will showcase the issues honored at the 78th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Scream' Series Moves From MTV to VH1 for July Debut

    The long-gestating third season of the “Scream” series is finally debuting–but not on its original network. Variety has confirmed that the series will air on VH1 instead of MTV as originally planned. “Scream” will debut on VH1 on July 8 and air two one-hour episodes back-to-back for three straight nights. The third season of the [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Video of Jussie Smollett With Rope Around His Neck Released by Chicago Police

    The Chicago Police Department released new surveillance footage and files in regards to the Jussie Smollett hoax case on Monday, including one that shows the “Empire” actor shortly after the alleged attack. In one of the videos, police body-cam footage shows authorities entering Smollett’s Chicago apartment, led by his manager, Frank Gatson. Smollett is found [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content