Thursday’s announcement of the “Good Times” cast seems perfect: Viola Davis and Andre Braugher will play Florida and James Evans, roles immortalized by Esther Rolle and John Amos on the 1970s sitcom.
“Saturday Night Live” vet Jay Pharoah will assume the “dyn-o-mite!” role of eldest son J.J., made famous by Jimmie Walker during the show’s 1974 to 1979 run.
Rounding out the star-studded cast are standup comic and movie star Tiffany Haddish as wisecracking next-door neighbor Willona Woods, Emmy nominee Asante Blackk (“When They See Us”) as Michael, Corinne Foxx as Thelma — and Emmy winner Jharrel Jerome (“When They See Us”) in a still-unannounced role.
Meanwhile, Anthony Anderson (“black-ish) and Patti LaBelle (who was recently revealed to be “The Masked Singer‘s” Flower) are set to deliver the sitcom’s theme song. (Jennifer Hudson belted out “The Jeffersons” theme to much acclaim in the first edition of “Live.”)
As previously announced Wednesday, Woody Harrelson, Marisa Tomei, Ellie Kemper and Ike Barinholtz will reprise their respective roles as Archie, Edith, Gloria and Meathead in the “All in the Family” portion of the broadcast. They will be joined by new cast members Kevin Bacon, Jesse Eisenberg and Justina Machado (“One Day at a Time”), in “guest star” roles.
ABC has not yet confirmed which episodes of “All in the Family” and “Good Times” will be recreated as part of the special. The first edition of the franchise averaged 10.4 million total viewers and a 1.8 demo rating among viewers 18-to-49 and won the Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special.
By Robert Rorke