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Celebrating a century of talent: ABC highlights ‘Norman Lear: 100 Years of Music and Laughter’

ABC has a special that’s a century in the making! It’s about a TV pioneer who used comedy to push the envelope in one series after another. “Norman Lear: 100 Years of Music and Laughter” is a celebration of one man’s life and legacy.

“I am going to be as surprised and pleased–or offended–as anybody else viewing,” said Lear.

Norman Lear is still cracking jokes at 100. The man behind such classic sitcoms as “All in the Family,” “Maude,” Good Times” and “The Jeffersons” is the subject of a two-hour TV special featuring conversations, comedy performances, speeches and some surprise reunions.

“You know, we were very much instructed that this is a TV show first and a party second. So it’s a hard line to walk and I think we’ve done a really nice job of bringing, you know, the reunions together as well as, you know, some of the people that are currently in Norman’s life and some of those who are just collaborators and fans,” said executive producer Brent Miller.

Miller has been working with Lear for a long time now. And he’s apparently inherited Lear’s work ethic.

“I don’t know that anyone who’s working with a 100-year-old old man could ever dream of retiring,” said Miller.

“Norman Lear: 100 Years of Music and Laughter” will also feature performances of his shows’ classic theme songs, including “Those Were the Days,” written by Lee Adams and Charles Strouse for “All in the Family.”

“I’ll never forget the first time I heard it. It was 100% of their doing,” said Lear. “And I–that was the gift of gifts and it’s been a pleasure all these years to give that gift back to the American people.”

“Norman Lear: 100 Years of Music and Laughter” airs Thursday on ABC, and then next day on Hulu.

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