'The Jeffersons' Writer Jay Moriarty Talks About His TV Career

Jan 17, 2020

How did a kid from Finneytown named Jay Moriarty become the executive producer of The Jeffersons, the hit 1970s sitcom about an African American family?

And what was it like working for legendary TV creator-producer Norman Lear?

Moriarty's 'Honky In The House' recounts his experience writing and producing 'The Jeffersons' TV show.
Credit Courtesy Barnes & Noble

Where did Moriarty and his writing partner Mike Milligan come up with the idea for the All In The Family "Draft Dodger" Christmas show about Archie Bunker having Christmas dinner with an old pal whose son was killed in the Vietnam War and a draft dodger who fled to Canada?

Moriarty, a St. Xavier High School (1964) and Xavier University (1968) graduate, answers those questions when he talks about his career with me on WVXU-FM's Around Cincinnati 7 p.m. Sunday.

After the show airs, I'll post a link here.

Morarity has published a memoir about his years working for Lear, the groundbreaking producer of All In the Family, Maude, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Sanford & Son, One Day At A Time and other shows. He called the book Honky In The House: Writing & Producing The Jeffersons.

While Moriarty was working on The Jeffersons starring George Hemsley in 1975, he pitched the "Draft Dodger" idea to Lear as a 1976 Christmas story for All In The Family, TV's No. 1 show.  He and Milligan actually had written a summary for the "Draft Dodger" in 1971, as they were trying to break into TV writing.

"It was the first thing I wrote for TV," Moriarty told me in December, before ABC re-created that episode with Woody Harrelson as Archie Bunker on ABC's Live In Front Of A Studio Audience.

Around Cincinnati airs 7-8 p.m. Sundays on WVXU-FM (91.7) and WMUB-FM (88.5) and streamed at wvxu.org.