Two classic sitcoms, one all-star cast.
ABC on Tuesday will revisit the 1980s by way of Live in Front of a Studio Audience, recreating memorable episodes of Diff’rent Strokes and its spinoff, The Facts of Life, using A-list actors to fill roles originated by child stars.
The 42-year-old Kevin Hart, for instance, will succeed the late Gary Coleman as the precocious Arnold Jackson on Diff’rent Strokes. The 61-year-old Damon Wayans, meanwhile, will take over for Todd Bridges as Arnold’s older brother Willis.
Addressing the decision to cast Actors of a Certain Age in previously pint-sized parts, executive producer Brent Miller told TVLine, “It started with Jimmy [Kimmel] and his desire to have Kevin Hart play Arnold Jackson, the Gary Coleman role…. At the time, I didn’t know: Is he going to want to cast everybody old, or is he just going to have the joke be Kevin? But as we started talking through it, it made sense to be consistent with that conceit of having older people play kids.”
Additional participants enlisted for 90-minute special include Jennifer Aniston, John Lithgow, Kathryn Hahn, Gabrielle Union, Allison Tolman and Ann Dowd — the latter of whom will appear during both reenactments as Mrs. Garrett.
Scroll down to see the A-listers opposite the original stars of both comedies, then hit the comments and tell us who you think was best (and worst) cast.