With the rise of various streaming platforms it’s near impossible to find what you want all on one platform. That search becomes intensified if you’re seeking older series, many of which often aren’t streaming at all. Amazon Prime Video, and their free television arm IMDbTV, are set to make that a bit easier by offering the catalog of television revolutionary, Norman Lear.
Newly announced today, Lear’s catalog of 1970s and 1980s TV series will now be made available, in their entirety, via Prime Video and IMDbTV. It marks the largest collection of Lear’s complete series content available to stream. The deal includes Lear’s iconic television series, “All in the Family,” “Diff’rent Strokes,” “The Jeffersons,” “227,” “Sanford and Son,” as well as its spin-off “Sanford,” “Maude,” “Good Times,” and “One Day at a Time.”
All will launch Thursday, July 15 on either Prime Video or IMDbTV.
This is a huge boon for Lear, who has won five Primetime Emmys over the length of his career and won an Oscar for writing the screenplay to the 1967 film “Divorce American Style.” His work focused on tackling tough issues with a dose of humor, whether that be confronting racism or discussing abortion. He also regularly created shows about characters of color and was one of the first television creators to cast performers with disabilities.
Currently, his series have been parceled out over a variety of services. “One Day At a Time” had its own channel on the free television service Pluto TV and was only available for purchase via Amazon. “All in the Family,” “Maude,” and “Good Times” were previously exclusive to Apple TV, while “Sanford and Son” and “The Jeffersons” were only available to watch with a Starz subscription. “227” and “Sanford” will make their streaming debut.
“Life is a collaboration,” Lear said in a statement. “Writing, directing, and producing films and television is perhaps the most collaborative work of all. In 2018, our Act III Productions sat with the team at Sony Pictures Television and formed a partnership to not only produce new content, but to bring a new awareness to my former Embassy library. That Sony found a home for that library with Prime Video/IMDb TV, where new generations could find it, is the best present a man entering his 100th year can have.”
It’s no surprise that Lear’s work is being given additional immortalization as audiences transition from physical media to streaming. His work broke barriers, and many modern creators cite him as an inspiration today. But, more importantly, this cracks the door open for more studios to take chances on their classic film and television catalogs.
“Norman Lear is a national treasure and his impact on television and popular culture is immeasurable,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios, in a statement. “We are so honored to bring his classic television series to Prime Video and IMDb TV so new audiences and a new generation can laugh, enjoy and be inspired, like so many of us have been throughout the years.”
Too often it’s assumed anything older than the 1980s isn’t attractive to audiences, in spite of niche services like the Criterion Collection yielding a sizable subscriber base. The hope is that other services will see this case as a greater example to release items that might not have overt name recognition, but are solid representations of classic content.