January 18, 1975, through June 25, 1985
The Jeffersons is an American sitcom that was broadcast on CBS from January 18, 1975, through June 25, 1985, lasting 11 seasons and a total of 253 episodes. The show was produced by the T.A.T. Communications Company from 1975–1982 and by Embassy Television from 1982-1985. The Jeffersons is the longest-running comedy (or series of any genre) with a predominantly African American cast in the history of American television.
The show focused on George and Louise Jefferson, an upper middle-class African American couple. The show was launched as the second spin-off of All in the Family, on which the Jeffersons had been the neighbors of Archie and Edith Bunker.
The show was the creation of prolific television producer Norman Lear. However, unlike some of his other shows, it was less sharply political in tone and The Jeffersons evolved into more of a traditional sitcom, relying more on the characters' interactions with one another rather than explicitly political dialog or story-lines. It did, however, tackle a few serious topics including racism, suicide, gun control and adult illiteracy. Also, the words "nigger" and "honkey" were used occasionally, especially during the earlier seasons.
The show had one spin-off, titled Checking In. The short lived series was centered around the Jeffersons' housekeeper, Florence. Checking In only lasted four episodes, after which Florence returned to The Jeffersons.
The show ended in controversy after CBS abruptly canceled the series without allowing for a proper series finale. The cast were not informed until after the June 25, 1985, episode "Red Robins," and actor Sherman Hemsley said he found out that the show was canceled by reading it in the newspaper. The cast later reunited in a stage-play based on the sitcom. In the series finale of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1996 the Jeffersons made a guest appearance and bought the house from the Banks' family.
In 1985, Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford made a special guest appearance as the Jeffersons in the TV comic show Grand Hotel, where the Italian actors Gigi Sammarchi, Andrea Roncato, Franco Franchi, Ciccio Ingrassia, Carmen Russo were starring in. They are guests in the hotel but just appeared twice during the show, for a total of five minutes. They were dubbed by their Italian voices, Enzo Garinei (George) and Isa di Marzio (Louise), which also dubbed their characters for the full series.