Norman Lear- Uber Busy at 93

norman_lear_book_cover_2012Norman Lear, the genius writer and producer behind such 1970’s sitcoms as All in the Family, Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, Good Times, and Maude, is still busy at age 93. In addition to Lear’s TV and film work (“This Is Spinal Tap“, ‘Stand By Me‘, and “The Princess Bride“), Lear is the author of the book Even This I Get to Experience, and Lear is the founder of the liberal advocacy organization People For the American Way.

Now Norman Lear will be bringing us more TV comedy, as well as a provocative new documentary series, “America Divided,” that will attempt to examine the greatest social crisis facing America today: Inequality.

America Divided, is being produced by Norman Lear, Common and Shonda Rhimes for the Premium TV network EPIX. America Ferrera, Zach Galifianakis, Norman Lear, Amy Poehler, Peter Sarsgaard, Common, and Jesse Williams are among the featured participants.

In a press release from EPIX, America Divided is described as uncovering dramatic untold stories illustrating how record levels of inequality are undermining the American dream. America Divided will make its World Television Premiere on EPIX in Fall 2016 in the run-up to the presidential election.

“EPIX is committed to presenting thought-provoking documentaries that deal head-on with hot-button topics that affect our society,” said Mark S. Greenberg, CEO & President of EPIX. “America Divided is a nonpartisan investigation of the key issues shaping the presidential campaign, and we are confident our viewers will find each episode compelling and accessible.”

“This series cuts to the heart of the inequality crisis, exploring life-and-death struggles around the economic, social and political divide,” said the show creators. “Our aim is to expose the damage extreme inequality inflicts on all Americans, reveal its systemic causes, and celebrate real-world heroes fighting for solutions.”

America Divided will feature high-profile correspondents exploring aspects of inequality related to their own biographies. Oscar(R)-winning hip-hop artist Common returns to his hometown of Chicago – ground zero for disparities in the criminal justice system.

Emmy(R)- and Golden Globe(R)-winning actress America Ferrera travels to Texas to witness battles around access to the ballot and healthcare for poor women.

Actor and comedian Zach Galifianakis investigates the political landscape in his home state of North Carolina and considers how it’s emblematic of the country’s deepening political divide during the 2016 campaign.

Legendary TV producer Norman Lear, an original member of the Television Academy Hall of Fame, reports on the housing crisis in New York – from people who have no homes to luxury apartments purposely kept vacant.

Actress and producer Amy Poehler witnesses the complex challenges faced by domestic workers who maintain an intimate relationship with the families that employ them while also struggling for better conditions.

Actor and activist Peter Sarsgaard explores the addiction crisis ravaging a heartland beset by unemployment and the shuttering of America’s factories.

And, “Grey’s Anatomy” star and former teacher Jesse Williams goes back to the classroom and becomes immersed in the battle to fix inequality in education.

“Addressing the ramifications of inequality, is hugely important to me,” said executive producer and correspondent Common. “The more we explore the subject and build a dialog around the issues, the more we can do to create change.”

But Wait, There’s More…

One Day at a Time

Actress Rita Moreno in 2011. Photo by: John Ferguson

Actress Rita Moreno in 2011. Photo by: John Ferguson

Netflix is rebooting the classic Norman Lear sitcom, One Day at a Time with Oscar winning actress Rita Moreno taking the lead role and centering on a Cuban-American family. The rest of the cast has not been released

Our heroine is a recently separated, former military mom navigating a new single life while raising her radical teenaged daughter and socially adept tween son, with the “help” of her old school Cuban-born mom and a friends- without-benefits building manager named Schneider.

The original One Day at a Time aired on the CBS network from December 16, 1975, until May 28, 1984. It starred Bonnie Franklin as a divorced mother raising two teenage daughters, played by Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli, in Indianapolis.

One Day at a Time starred Bonnie Franklin (center) as newly divorced Mom, Ann Romano, and Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli as her teenage daughters Julie and Barbara (not pictured). Richard Masur (left) played Ann’s boyfriend David, and the building super, Schneider, was played by Pat Harrington Jr. (right)

One Day at a Time starred Bonnie Franklin (center) as newly divorced Mom, Ann Romano, and Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli as her teenage daughters Julie and Barbara (not pictured). Richard Masur (left) played Ann’s boyfriend David, and the building super, Schneider, was played by Pat Harrington Jr. (right)

The series was created by Whitney Blake and Allan Manings,  a husband-and-wife writing duo who were both actors in the 1950s and 1960s. The series was based on Whitney Blake’s own life as a single mother, raising her child, future actress Meredith Baxter.

one_day_at_a_time_tv_guide_adLike many sitcoms developed by Norman Lear, One Day at a Time often tackled serious issues in life and relationships, particularly those related to second wave feminism. Stories depicting such events as weddings, births, and other important milestones frequently stretched over two-, three-, and four-part episodes.

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Norman Lear on Archie Bunker, the Christian Right & The “American Way” (w/ Cenk Uygur)

Norman Lear talks about his book, Even this I Get to even this I get to Experience:

Get the Norman Lear DVD Collection from Amazon

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Norman Lear TV Collection (19 discs)


Legendary broadcast pioneer Norman Lear is known for creating some of the most acclaimed and top-rated television series of all time! Now you can own the first seasons of these classic hit shows in one collectible set, plus over six hours of exclusive new bonus features: All in the Family Good Times The Jeffersons Maude Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (first 25 episodes) One Day at a Time Sanford & Son One of the most respected men in the entertainment industry, Lear has garnered four Emmy Awards® and was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. In addition, his philanthropic efforts include founding the People for the American Way and the Norman Lear Center at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication; he also continues to be a strong voice for First Amendment rights.
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