TV veteran Norman Lear and Jimmy Kimmel will revive their Emmy-winning Live in Front of a Studio Audience for its third iteration with a Diff’rent Strokes and its spinoff The Facts of Life.
“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,” says Lear, who’s still a towering presence in the television industry.
The live reenactment of a Diff’rent Strokes has cast John Lithgow as Mr.Drummond, Kevin Hart is cast as Arnold. Damon Wayans and Ann Dowd have been cast as Willis and Mrs. Garrett.
For its spinoff, The Facts of Life has cast Gabrielle Union as Kim Fields’s iconic character Tootie Ramsey. Jennifer Aniston as Blair Warner, succeeding original portrayer Lisa Whelchel. Kathryn Hahn will portray Nancy McKeon’s character Jo Polniaczek and Allison Tolman is cast as Natalie Green, Mindy Cohn’s iconic character. Ann Dowd will reprise her role as Eastland housemother Mrs. Garrett from a Diff’rent Strokes.
The collection of A-listers will be joined behind the camera by more bold-face names in returning producers Kerry Washington, Will Ferrell, Justin Theroux, Jim Burrows and Brent Miller.
Executive producer Kerry Washington said, “It has been an honor and highlight of my career to collaborate with the legendary Norman Lear, Jimmy Kimmel, ABC and Sony. Part of the magic of Norman’s iconic TV series is that they resonate with audiences today just as much as they did decades ago. Reliving and reimagining them feels like pure joy. I keep wondering when this will start to feel like work!”
Norman Lear’s Live in Front of a Studio Audience will premiere on ABC on Dec. 7 at 8PM ET.
Immediately following the special, will be a special early premiere of the workplace comedy Abbott Elementary, starring and executive produced by Quinta Brunson. The all-new series is then set to officially premiere on Jan 4th.