Here's everything to know about the holiday special coming to ABC on Dec. 18:
What is "Live in Front of a Studio Audience"?
In "Live in Front of a Studio Audience," actors re-stage episodes of classic sitcoms -- you guessed it -- live on television in front of a studio audience. During the first special back in May, Kimmel and Lear teamed up for a primetime live presentation of episodes of "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons."
In addition to the "All in the Family" actors who are reprising their roles this time around, that special also featured Jamie Foxx and Wanda Sykes as George and Louise Jefferson, Will Ferrell as Tom Willis, Anthony Anderson as Uncle Henry and Sean Hayes as Mr. Lorenzo, among others. Jennifer Hudson performed the "Jeffersons" theme song, and Marla Gibbs made a surprise cameo to reprise her role as Florence Johnston.
The May special was nominated for three Emmy awards, winning Outstanding Variety Special (Live), and a Critics' Choice Award. Over the course of three airings, it reached 23.5 million total viewers, according to figures provided by ABC.
This time around, the special will include an episode of "Good Times" and another "All in the Family" episode. ABC hasn't announced which episodes will be staged, but they are billing the show as a holiday special.
"All in the Family" originally ran on CBS from 1971 to 1979 and followed a working-class white family in Queens. "Good Times," meanwhile, ran from 1974 to 1979 and focused on a black family living in a public housing project in Chicago. Both programs focused on the families as they navigated the rapidly shifting social landscape of the 1970s and were praised for using humor as a tool to address complex hot-button social issues of the time like racism and sexism. Lear either created or developed both sitcoms.
Kimmel and Lear have both discussed how the themes the shows addressed during their original runs decades ago are still relevant to audiences in the 21st century.
"The language and themes from almost 50 years ago can still be jarring today, and we are still grappling with many of these same issues," Lear said as he introduced the May special. "We hope tonight will make you laugh, provoke discussion and encourage action. There is so much more work we must do in this country we love so much."
"These shows are even more relevant now than they were. People forget that they were controversial," Kimmel explained during an interview before the show. "Maybe if we had social media back then, these shows wouldn't have survived - or maybe they would have been even bigger than they were."
"Live in Front of a Studio Audience" December holiday special cast
Several of the cast members from the first "Live" special back in May are returning for round two. Here's a look at who's been announced so far for this special as well as a look at who originally played the roles in the 1970s:
"All in the Family" cast
- Woody Harrelson as Archie Bunker (originally portrayed by Carroll O'Connor)
- Marisa Tomei as Edith Bunker (originally portrayed by Jean Stapleton)
- Ellie Kemper as Gloria Stivic (originally portrayed by Sally Struthers)
- Ike Barinholtz as Michael "Meathead" Stivic (originally portrayed by Rob Reiner)
Kevin Bacon, Jesse Eisenberg and Justina Machado will also perform roles that have not yet been announced.
SEE ALSO: 'Live in Front of a Studio Audience' cast previews holiday special
"Good Times" cast
- Viola Davis and as Florida Evans (originally portrayed by Esther Rolle)
- Andre Braugher as James Evans (originally portrayed by John Amos)
- Jay Pharoah as J.J Evans (originally portrayed by Jimmie Walker)
- Asante Blackk as Michael Evans (originally portrayed by Ralph Carter)
- Corinne Foxx as Thelma Evans (originally portrayed by BernNadette Stanis)
- Tiffany Haddish as Willona Woods (originally portrayed by Ja'Net DuBois)
Jharrel Jerome will perform a to-be-announced role, and Anthony Anderson and music legend Patti LaBelle are slated to put on a "show-stopping musical performance," according to ABC.
Lear, Kimmel, Brent Miller, Kerry Washington, Will Ferrell, Justin Theroux and Jim Burrows have signed on as executive producers. Pam Fryman and Andy Fisher will direct the live special, which is produced by Kimmelot, ACT III Productions, Gary Sanchez Productions, D'Arconville, Simpson Street and Sony Pictures Television.
"Live in Front of a Studio Audience" date, time, channel
"Live in Front of a Studio Audience: 'All in the Family' and 'Good Times'" will air on ABC on Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 8 p.m. ET/PT | 7 p.m. CT.