Honouring A True Television Icon

A new special celebrates the 100th birthday of legendary TV producer Norman Lear

A new special celebrates the 100th birthday of legendary TV producer Norman Lear

It’s arguable that no single person has shaped and influenced television over the past six decades more than Norman Lear.

That’s borne out by a list—a partial one, mind you—of some of Lear’s best-known series during the 1970s, an iconic roster that includes All in the Family, MaudeThe Jeffersons, Good Times, One Day at a Time, The Facts of Life, Sanford and Son, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and Fernwood 2 Night.

Meanwhile, let’s not forget his more recent efforts, including the critically acclaimed reboot of One Day at a Time for Netflix, or ABC’s star-studded Live in Front of a Studio Audience specials.

Lear celebrated his 100th birthday in July, and the occasion is marked by a two-hour special in which the legendary TV producer is honoured by Jennifer Aniston, Jimmy Kimmel, Amy Poehler and Octavia Spencer.Norman LearABCIn addition to looking back at his extraordinary television legacy, the special also takes a look at Lear’s political activism through People for the American Way, the progressive advocacy organization he founded in the early 1980s when he put his TV career on hold to embrace a new role defending democracy and protecting Americans’ rights and freedoms from the right-wing extremism he saw encroaching.

Viewers can also expect to see intimate conversations with Lear, special musical performances and even some surprise reunions—and more stars to be announced—all in homage to the man behind some of television’s greatest stories.

“I’ve always believed music and laughter have added time to my life,” said Lear in a statement about the special. “I’ve seen a lot throughout my 100 years, but I would’ve never imagined America having a front-row seat to my birthday celebration.”

Norman Lear: 100 Years of Music and Laughter premieres Tuesday, September 20 on ABC