Classic 70s sitcoms All in the Family and The Jeffersons may get reboots, thanks to a new first-look deal between Sony Pictures TV and legendary TV producer Norman Lear. Good Times, Maude, and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman could also be looked at for reboot potential under the same agreement.
Television has of course been reboot/revival crazy in recent months, bringing back everything from Twin Peaks to Will and Grace to Samurai Jack. The most high-profile of all the recent revivals, ABC's Roseanne, made headlines for all the wrong reasons, but also drew in big audiences and will now receive a spinoff called The Conners (without Roseanne Barr). The coming months will see even more revivals, with everything from Charmed to Murphy Brown to Magnum P.I. to Cagney and Lacey getting a second chance on television. Even Buffy the Vampire Slayer is reportedly returning soon, though fans don't seem very happy about that particular development.
Amid this "everything old is new again" trend, Sony Pictures TV could reportedly seek to bring back some more great sitcoms of the '70s for another go-around. EW reports that TV titan Norman Lear, the man responsible for All in the Family, The Jeffersons and many more classic series, has signed a deal with Sony that gives the studio the option to pursue reboots of any of the titles he created. Sony has already worked with Lear's Act III Productions on the rebooted One Day at a Time, which is headed into season 3 on Netflix.
The 96-year-old Lear made television history with his very first show, the sitcom All in the Family, which debuted in 1971. Centered around ultra-conservative working stiff Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor), and his "dingbat" wife Edith (Jean Stapleton), All in the Family became one of the most popular and renowned series in history, and Archie is still widely regarded as one of the greatest characters in the history of television. The show's spinoff, The Jeffersons, centered on the Bunkers' upwardly mobile black neighbors, began airing in 1975 and became a classic in its own right.
In addition to those major shows, Lear's catalog also includes the pioneering sitcoms Sanford and Son and Good Times, as well as the Bea Arthur-led Maude (technically another spinoff of All in the Family, though Maude only appeared on two episodes of that show). The deal with Lear also covers the producer's lesser shows, including Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, a series primarily remembered for its title. Should Sony seek to pursue any reboots, the prize properties are clearly All in the Family and The Jeffersons, two of the most beloved series in TV history. Those shows are so beloved in fact that any attempt to reboot them would likely be met with major backlash. Revisiting any of Lear's classic titles in today's political climate would be a perilous exercise to be sure. But after their success with One Day at a Time - a reboot that has impressed critics as well as audiences - Sony will likely at least consider the possibility of trying to strike gold again with a rebooted All in the Family or The Jeffersons.