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Norman Lear won with All in the Family, wants more older people on TV

Norman Lear - Famed TV producer wants more senior citizens on screenFamed producer has written new show set in senior living community

Jan. 11, 2016 - Norman Lear, the 93-year-old legendary television producer and writer, tells CBS he wants to see more “older” people on TV and he has written a new show - "Guess Who Died?"- that he hopes will make it to the small screen.

Right now the show, which is set in a senior living community, has only been seen in Austin, Texas, where Lear recruited senior actors to participate in a reading at the local film festival.

Interviewer Mo Rocca asked Lear if he prefers the term senior citizens, the elderly or old people.


I prefer older,” Lear answered. "Yeah. Elderly has a connotation. I am clearly older than a lot of people, but am I old? Not yet!"

The interview ran January 10 on the CBS Sunday Morning and is available online. The report on the interview and more on Lear is available at CBS News.

Lear noticed that older characters were relegated to marginal roles on TV -- eccentric neighbors or wise-cracking grandparents. "Where are people my age?" he said. "There were no shows about us, about our lives, about our attitudes, about our problems."

You'd think that Lear would have no problem getting his script produced. After all, this is the man who gave us landmark comedies like "Maude," "Good Times," and "All In the Family."

But since writing his script for "Guess Who Died?" five years ago, a total of zero network executives has shown interest.

"Television executives think that young people only want to watch other young people," said Rocca.

"These are the same television executives that didn't think Archie should say this or that," said Lear. "And you can't deal with menopause, and you can't deal with abortion, and you can't with economic problems, you know? They're not always right."

CBS also reports that Lear is updating his hit show "One Day at a Time" for Netflix, this time with a Latino cast.

And he has no intention of pulling the plug on "Guess Who Died?"

For more info:

         Norm Lear wants to know: Where are all the old people on TV, CBS News

         Follow @TheNormanLear on TwitterFacebook and YouTube

         "Even This I Get to Experience" by Norman Lear (Penguin); Also available inTrade PaperbackeBookDigital Audio Download and Digital Audio CDFormats

         Austin Film Festival


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