Why Norman Lear put America's problems on TV

Norman Lear — creator of subversive '70s sitcoms like All in the Family, Maude and The Jeffersons — looks back on the era's divisive debates
Norman Lear — creator of subversive '70s sitcoms like All in the Family, Maude and The Jeffersons — looks back on the era's divisive debates (hotdocs.ca)
Listen23:31

Taboo-breaking TV legend Norman Lear, creator of subversive '70s sitcoms like All in the Family, Maude and The Jeffersons, looks back on the era's divisive debates about race, gender, and class in populist mainstream network TV. 

"It occurred to me at some point that everything that preceded me had a message...and that message was there are no problems in America," Lear tells guest host Gill Deacon, adding, "We wrote what about what was going on in our world."

The 93 year old is still doing his part to shake up the TV landscape, he's currently working on a Latino-centred remake of One Day at a Time with Netflix.  

Lear is the subject of a new documentary called Just Another Version of You — a special presentation at this year's Hot Docs festival in Toronto. Lear joins guest host Gill Deacon to share his memories of challenging television conventions, and what keeps him working for change.



WEB EXTRA | Norman Lear's advice for living a long life.

"A man should have a garment with two pockets. In the first pocket should be a piece of paper in which he's written, 'I am but dust and ashes, I don't matter that way.' In the other pocket a piece of paper on which is written, 'For me the world was created.'

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.