At 93, pro­ducer keeps push­ing bound­aries

The China Post - - ARTS - BY LYNN EL­BER

Vet­eran U.S. TV pro­ducer Nor­man Lear of “All in the Fam­ily” fame is look­ing ahead to his next ground­break­ing se­ries.

Lear, 93, told a TV crit­ics’ meet­ing Satur­day that he’s work­ing on a His­panic ver­sion of his sin­gle-par­ent com­edy “One Day at a Time.”

“I love the idea be­cause I don’t see enough of that rep­re­sen­ta­tion on the air,” said Lear, who is the sub­ject of a PBS’ “Amer­i­can Mas­ters” doc­u­men­tary planned for 2016.

The orig­i­nal se­ries aired from 1975 to 1984 and starred Bon­nie Franklin as the mother of two girls, played by Va­lerie Bertinelli and Macken­zie Phillips. The re­boot would fo­cus on a Latino woman with per­haps a boy and a girl, Lear said, and a grand­mother.

He wants to show three gen­er­a­tions of Lati­nas, he said.

Does he have ac­tors in mind? “Yes, but I’m not go­ing to share,” Lear replied, his tone as jaunty as his trade­mark white hat.

He was asked why broad­cast net­works aren’t air­ing sit­coms with the kind of top­i­cal hu­mor that was a con­stant of Lear’s shows of the 1970s through the mid-1990s, which be­sides “All in the Fam­ily” in­cluded “The Jef­fer­sons” and “Maude.”

“My guess is that, first of

all, they’re (pro­duc­ers) fully ca­pa­ble of do­ing it. They just don’t elect to,” or the ma­jor net­works don’t elect to have them do so, Lear said, adding, “So I don’t know which it is. ... They’re do­ing very well with­out it. I love ‘Mod­ern Fam­ily.”’

Lear, whose last sit­com was 1994’s short-lived “704 Hauser,” was asked if net­works shied away from work­ing with him be­cause of his edgy hu­mor or his years.

Per­haps his age is at is­sue, he said, “but no­body shakes my hand and says, ‘You’re too old.’ No­body shakes my hand and says, afraid you’re gonna croak.’”

Lear, known for his so­cial ac­tivism, was asked if he found much to laugh at in to­day’s pol­i­tics.

“It’s so hard,” he said. While he’s la­beled a pro­gres­sive, a lib­eral or a lefty, “I think of my­self as a bleed­ing heart con­ser­va­tive” who is in­tent on see­ing the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion and Bill of Rights pro­tected.

Amer­i­cans are pa­tri­otic, he said, but “I don’t need their flag pins to prove it. I would like them to go back to civics lessons.”



Nor­man Lear speaks on­stage dur­ing the “Amer­i­can Mas­ters: Nor­man Lear” panel at the PBS 2015 Sum­mer TCA Tour held at the Bev­erly Hil­ton Ho­tel in Bev­erly Hills, Cal­i­for­nia on Satur­day, Aug. 1.

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