All posts tagged: spin-off

Norman Lear’s Many American Families

Norman Lear’s Many American Families

The renowned television producer Norman Lear, who died yesterday at 101, pursued his craft with an assiduous fervor throughout his seven decades in the entertainment industry. But when I interviewed him back in 2020, for a story that focused in part on his role in ushering in prominent Black television shows of the 1970s, Lear characterized himself as an enthusiastic viewer above all. “My primary role has been to have a great time!” he said, with a laugh. “I don’t know that anybody enjoyed those years and those shows [like me]—not just my shows; all kinds of shows and [the] entertainment field in general. Nobody enjoyed it more than I.” If anyone knew how to watch, it was Lear. His great appreciation for the work of making television reflected his commitment to the less glamorous task of observing and attempting to understand other people. When developing series and talent alike, Lear prioritized the challenge of depicting experiences and viewpoints different from his own—and in doing so, he changed the trajectory of American television. His most …