ABC will soon bring remakes of the classic sitcoms “Diff’rent Strokes” and “The Facts Of Life” to screens with a third installment of its “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” franchise.
Jimmy Kimmel made the announcement Thursday on his late-night show, saying the “Diff’rent Strokes” update will feature John Lithgow as Mr. Drummond, Kevin Hart as Arnold, Damon Wayans as Willis and Ann Dowd as Mrs. Garrett. “The Facts of Life” cast will be announced later.
“Diff’rent Strokes” ran on NBC from 1978 to 1985, before making the switch to ABC from 1985 to 1986. The comedy starred Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges as Arnold and Willis, two African-American boys from Harlem taken in by a rich, white Park Avenue businessman and widower named Phillip Drummond.
“The Facts of Life” was a spinoff of the series and centered on the Drummonds’ first housekeeper, Mrs. Edna Garrett, who guided a group of girls at a boarding school through some of life’s most pressing issues. The sitcom aired on NBC from 1979 to 1988, and featured Lisa Whelchel, Kim Fields, Mindy Cohn, Nancy McKeon and Charlotte Rae as Mrs. Garrett.
The live remakes will air on ABC from 8-9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 7.
“‘Live in Front of a Studio Audience’ has become one of our most anticipated highlights of the year — it brings some of the biggest and funniest stars on the planet together on the same stage, where truly anything can happen, to introduce a whole new generation to ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ and ‘Facts of Life,’” Craig Erwich, president of Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment, said in a statement. “Jimmy and Norman have outdone themselves with a spectacular, irreverent and hilarious cast to once again create a can’t-miss television event.”
“Live in Front of a Studio Audience” will be produced by Kimmelot, ACT III Productions, Gary Sanchez Productions, D’Arconville, Simpson Street and Sony Pictures Television. Norman Lear, Jimmy Kimmel, Brent Miller, Kerry Washington, Will Ferrell, Justin Theroux and Jim Burrows will executive produce. Jim Burrows and Andy Fisher are set to direct the live event.
“Other than with my family, there’s no place I’d rather be in my 100th year than on a soundstage at Sony with these glorious actors reliving what our company had produced all those years ago and sharing it with the millions of viewers who could use a little laughter,” Lear added.
Previous installments of the franchise have included “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” in spring 2019, and an additional episode of “All in the Family” and “Good Times” aired in winter 2019.
An early premiere of the Quinta Brunson-led comedy “Abbott Elementary” will follow “Live In Front Of A Studio Audience.”