ABC is bringing back its “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” franchise this December with new installments of Diff’rent Strokes and The Facts of Life, the network announced Thursday night.
The one-night-only live event will feature John Lithgow as Mr. Drummond, Kevin Hart as Arnold, Damon Wayans as Willis, and Ann Dowd will play Mrs. Garrett on the Diff’rent Strokes remake. The cast of The Facts of Life will be announced at a later date, per ABC.
The 90-minute special comes from executive producers Norman Lear, Jimmy Kimmel, Brent Miller, Kerry Washington, Will Ferrell, Justin Theroux and Jim Burrows.
“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 said in a statement.
Diff’rent Strokes premiered in 1978 and ran until 1986. The sitcom centered on a wealthy, white Manhattan family who adopted the two sons of their late African-American housekeeper from Harlem. The series starred Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges, Conrad Bain, Dana Plato, and Charlotte Rae.
The Facts of Life was a spinoff of the series and focused on Mrs. Edna Garrett, the Drummonds’ former housekeeper, who taught a group of girls at a boarding school. The comedy starred Charlotte Rae, Lisa Whelchel, Kim Fields, Mindy Cohn, and Nancy McKeon.
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The live remakes of the classic comedies will premiere 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,” said Craig Erwich, president of Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment.
The special will be produced by Kimmelot, ACT III Productions, Gary Sanchez Productions, D’Arconville, Simpson Street and Sony Pictures Television
Previous installments of the franchise featured remakes of All in the Family and The Jeffersons in spring 2019. Next up was an additional episode of All in the Family and Good Times in winter 2019.
“Live in Front of a Studio Audience: ‘All in the Family’ and ‘Good Times’” was watched by about 13 million total viewers on linear and digital platforms.
The new special airs on Tuesday, Dec. 7 from 9:30-10:00 p.m. ET. An early premiere of the Quinta Brunson-led comedy Abbott Elementary will follow the live program