TV throwback! Jennifer Aniston, Kathryn Hahn and more major stars are set to put a fresh take on the classic 1970s sitcom The Facts of Life in a new Live in Front of a Studio Audience special.
ABC confirmed on Monday, November 29, that the primetime event would air the following week featuring the Friends alum, 52, and the WandaVision star, 48, as Blair Warner (originally played by Lisa Whelchel) and Jo Polniczek (Nancy McKeon), respectively, two students at an all-girls high school in upstate New York.
Aniston and the Parks and Recreation alum will be joined by Gabrielle Union and Allison Tolman, with Ann Dowd portraying the dorm’s housemother Edna Garrett. The character was formerly the housekeeper for the Drummond family on Diff’rent Strokes, which ran for eight seasons from 1978 to 1985.
The Facts of Life originally aired on NBC from 1979 to 1988, becoming one of the longest-running sitcoms of the ’80s. The story centered on Edna (the late Charlotte Rae) as she teaches the girls of Eastland School valuable life lessons they wouldn’t find in the classroom.
Across its nine seasons, the show spawned three made-for-TV movies: The Facts of Life Goes to Paris in 1982, The Facts of Life Down Under in 1987 and The Facts of Life Reunion in 2001.
The series was a spinoff of Diff’rent Strokes, which will also be getting a star-studded reinvention on Tuesday, December 7. The special is being produced by Jimmy Kimmel and Norman Lear, whose iconic shows All in the Family, Good Times and The Jeffersons were previously given the Live in Front of a Studio Audience treatment in 2019.
“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,” the Emmy winner noted in a statement ahead of the December episodes.
Earlier this year, Lear reflected on his decades-long career as he was honored with the Carol Burnett Award at the 78th annual Golden Globes.
“I could not feel more blessed,” Lear said during his virtual acceptance speech in February. “I am convinced that laughter adds time to one’s life, and nobody has made me laugh harder, nobody I owe more time to than Carol Burnett and the brilliant team that helped her realize her comedic genius. … At close to 99, I can tell you I’ve never lived alone. I’ve never laughed alone. And that has as much to do with my being here today as anything else I know.”
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