The Jeffersons is an American television sitcom created by Norman Lear as a spinoff of All in the Family which focuses on George and Louise Jefferson, an upper middle-class African American couple, who moved from a working class section of Queens into a luxury apartment in Manhattan.
The series was broadcast on CBS from 18 January, 1975, to 25 June, 1985, lasting 11 seasons and a total of 253 half-hour episodes. It is the longest running comedy (or series of any genre) with a predominantly African American cast in the history of American television.
The Jeffersons originally aired in South Africa on the SABC's TV4 in the 1980s. It premiered on DStv's M-Net Series channel on Saturday 14 November 2009, at 18h00.
The Jeffersons first aired in January of 1975 on CBS as a mid-season replacement. The series was a spinoff of All in the Family in which the Jeffersons were Archie and Edith Bunker's next door neighbours.
In 1975, The Jeffersons moved on up when George found success in a dry cleaning business. This allowed him and his wife, Louise and their son Lionel to "move on up" into a spacious high rise apartment.
At the beginning of the series, Lionel was attending college and graduated in February 1976. He married Jenny Willis in December of the same year and they had a daughter in 1979, Jessica Jefferson.
Other members of the cast include Tom and Helen Willis, the upstairs neighbours, and Jenny's parents. Florence Johnston was the Jefferson's sassy maid who was hired as a part-time maid in the first episode but in October 1976 moved in and became a full-time maid.
Mother Jefferson was George's feisty mother who forever put Louise down but deep down loved her.
Harry Bentley was the British, next door neighbour. Besides being quite eccentric and forever borrowing things from the Jeffersons, Bentley worked as a translator at the United Nations.
In 1981, Bentley was written out as being transferred to Russia, but returned in 1983. Ralph was the building doorman who forever begged for tips from George and the other tenants in the building.
Tom and Helen Willis were controversial characters since they were most likely TV's first interracial couple. Helen was Louise's best friend and they ran a Help Centre which opened in 1977. As for Tom and George, it took the entire run of the series to develop their love/hate friendship.
The series was unceremoniously pulled from the air with no warning, so the cast, bitter that they never got to shoot an appropriate finale episode, later reunited for a theatrical stage play.
Sherman and Isabel also reprised their roles as George and Louise Jefferson on a couple of episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in the mid-90's.
(Note: these dates do not include the original broadcast of The Jeffersons on the SABC - it is only for the run on M-Net Series. All seasons air on Saturdays at 18h00.)
Season 1 (13 episodes)
Premiere: 14 November 2009 | Finale: 6 February 2010
Season 2 (24 episodes)
Premiere: 13 February 2010 | Finale: 24 July 2010