Jennifer Aniston, Gabrielle Union, Kathryn Hahn, and Allison Tolman have joined the cast of ABC’s Live in Front of a Studio Audience that’ll see characters from Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes brought back to life on Dec. 7 starting at 8 p.m.
The quad will portray private school teens from the Facts of Life‘s fictional Eastland School who at times crossed over to Diff’rent Strokes.
Aniston will play the role of Blair (originally played by Lisa Whelchel), Union will play Tootie (Kim Fields), Hahn will play Jo (Nancy McKeon), and Tolman will play Natalie (Mindy Cohn).
They join the previously announced Ann Dowd who will play Mrs. Garrett (Charlotte Rae), the girls’ housemother.
Diff’rent Strokes (created by Bernie Kukoff and Jeff Harris) follows the lives of an unconventional family brought together by circumstance. Arnold (Gary Coleman) and his older brother Willis (Todd Bridges) are two Black brothers from Harlem who move to a Park Avenue penthouse to live with their mother’s rich employer after her demise.
Arnold and Willis oftentimes struggle to fit in with their new white family—a successful businessman, Phillip Drummond (Conrad Bain), and his daughter Kimberly (Dana Plato). Mr. Drummond not only kept his promise to the boys’ mother to raise them, but he grew to adore them as his own.
Mrs. Garrett joins the family as the new housekeeper to help Mr. Drummond care for his growing family. When she grows tired of the monotony of daily life, she leaves the Drummond family for the Diff’rent Strokes spin-off The Facts of Life (created by Dick Clair and Jenna McMahon) in search of new dreams.
The teaser above reveals surprise guest appearances. The only surviving lead castmembers from Diff’rent Strokes is Bridges. However, The Facts of Life‘s lead cast are all still alive except for Rae who died in 2018.
It’s produced by Kimmelot, ACT III Productions, Gary Sanchez Productions, D’Arconville, Simpson Street, and Sony Pictures Television. Burrows and Andy Fisher are set to direct the live show.
The first two installments of Sony Pictures Television’s Live in Front of a Studio Audience re-created episodes of Lear classics All in the Family and its spinoff The Jeffersons in spring 2019, and a different All in the Family episode was remade along with another of its groundbreaking spinoffs, Good Times, that winter.
The special will air one night only on ABC, then will stream on Hulu the following day.