Television is honoring one of its own. CBS announced on Thursday that Entertainment Tonight will present Normal Lear: A Life on Television on CBS on Friday. The one-hour special will honor the late TV creator with new and never-before-seen interviews from the stars of Lear’s beloved shows, along with new footage from ET’s sit-down with Lear following his 100th birthday.
Lear died on Dec. 5 at age 101. A spokesperson for his family told ET that he passed away “after a lifetime of laughter.”
“Thank you for the moving outpouring of love and support in honor of our wonderful husband, father, and grandfather,” the statement continued. “Norman lived a life of creativity, tenacity, and empathy. He deeply loved our country and spent a lifetime helping to preserve its founding ideals of justice and equality for all. Knowing and loving him has been the greatest of gifts. We ask for your understanding as we mourn privately in celebration of this remarkable human being.”
During his career, Lear wrote, created and developed over 100 shows. He created and produced numerous popular comedies, including Sanford and Son (1972–1977), All in the Family (1971–1979), One Day at a Time (1975–1984), The Jeffersons (1975–1985), Good Times (1974–1979) and Maude (1972–1978), all for the CBS Television Network.
Throughout his life, Lear was known for his political activism and funding of liberal or progressive causes and politicians. In 1980, he founded the advocacy organization People for the American Way, to counter the influence of the Christian right in politics, and in the early 2000s, he mounted a tour with a copy of the Declaration of Independence.
His shows are now renowned for introducing political and social themes to the sitcom genre, and Lear was honored with many awards recognizing him for this change, including six Primetime Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, the National Medal of Arts in 1999, the Kennedy Center Honors in 2017, and the Golden Globe Carol Burnett Award in 2021. He was also a member of the Television Academy Hall of Fame.
ET’s special will feature new interviews with Jimmie Walker from Good Times and Mackenzie Phillips from One Day at a Time, in addition to never-before-seen footage from ET’s vault. The show will also include a look back at ET host Kevin Frazier’s sit-down interview with Lear when he celebrated his 100th birthday, where he reflected on his lengthy, groundbreaking career.
Norman Lear: A Life on Television will air Friday, Dec. 8 on the CBS Television Network, and stream on Paramount+. The show will be live and on demand for Paramount+ with Showtime subscribers, or on demand from Paramount+ Essential subscribers the day after the episode airs.