The Jeffersons: Season Seven [3 Discs] [DVD]
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Special Features

  • Closed Captioned


After several seasons in the ratings doldrums, The Jeffersons had enjoyed an incredible upsurge in viewership during its sixth season, due in no small part to the decision by CBS to move the series to Sunday night, traditionally the "best" TV evening of the week. Thus, it was no surprise that the series would retain its Sunday slot when it entered its seventh season in the fall of 1980; indeed, Sunday would remain "Jeffersons" night until December 1984. Perhaps because the series had finally found its bearings, there were no cast changes or additions during season eight. Clearly, audiences were happy that Mike Evans, the original Lionel Jefferson, had returned to the fold during the previous season after a four-year absence. Jessica Jefferson, newborn daughter of Lionel and Jenny Jefferson (Berlinda Tolbert), was more talked about than seen. A few uncredited infant "actors" appeared as Jessica during season eight, but otherwise the character was conveyed via prerecorded crying sounds. Early in 1981, Marla Gibbs, who had been playing The Jeffersons' sassy housekeeper Florence Johnston since 1975, was given the opportunity to essay the same character on a series of her own. The final two seventh-season Jeffersons episodes were designed as a one-hour pilot for the new Gibbs series, Checking In, in which Florence was promoted to executive housekeeper at the ritzy St. Frederick Hotel. Debuting April 9, 1981, Checking In ultimately checked out after a mere four episodes. Because of a lengthy Hollywood writers' strike in 1980, fewer Jeffersons episodes were produced that year than in previous seasons. Only 20 new half-hours were seen during season seven, though a "stockpile" of 1980-1981 episodes would spill over into season eight. The paucity of first-run episodes did not affect the series' popularity in the least: By April 1981, The Jeffersons was the sixth highest-rated network program. And as a bonus, Isabel Sanford (Louise Jefferson) had won an Emmy Award as outstanding lead actress in a comedy series. ~ Hal Erickson

Cast & Crew

  • Sherman Hemsley - George Jefferson
  • Isabel Sanford - Louise Jefferson
  • Mike Evans - Lionel Jefferson
  • Damon Evans - Lionel Jefferson
  • Marla Gibbs - Florence Johnston
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