Norman Lear and Brent Miller Interview: ‘Live in Front of a Studio Audience’
TV legend Norman Lear became the oldest person to ever win an Emmy last September at age 97. And now he has a shot at breaking his own record with another Emmy nomination at age 98. Both bids were for his “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” variety specials for ABC. Both featured new live adaptations of “All in the Family,” while the 2019 version had “The Jeffersons” and the one from this past December recreated “Good Times.”
Lear had already won four Emmys for “All in the Family” in the 1970s. In our recent webchat (watch the exclusive video above), he discusses what it was like to prevail all these years later: “Well, I’m a fraction older. These are all individual achievements. This one to share with Brent was an altogether different and wonderful experience.”
“Leading up that night, it was a dream come true,” adds producing partner Brent Miller. “To get it with Norman was the icing on the cake for sure.” An additional producer, who won his first ever Primetime Emmy, was Jimmy Kimmel. Of that collaboration, Miller says, “Jimmy has one of the strongest work ethics I’ve seen around town. He was very much involved every step of the way, including being his idea to begin with.”
The ABC live special starred Marisa Tomei and Woody Harrelson as the Bunkers. The leads for “Good Times” were played by Viola Davis and Andre Braugher. Original cast member John Amos made a surprise appearance as a politician in the episode.
Another Emmy would be part of the large awards collection by Lear over the past five decades. He has received two Peabody Awards, was in the inaugural class inducted into the TV Academy Hall of Fame and received the Kennedy Center Honors.