Jon Stewart is joining the cast of Norman Lear’s Live in Front of a Studio Audience: The Facts of Life in a mystery role. The former Daily Show host joins a star-studded line up of actors set to revive the classic sitcom.
Aside from Stewart, The Facts of Life will star Kathryn Hahn, Gabrielle Union, Ann Dowd, and Jennifer Aniston. The original series, which ran from 1979 to 1988, featured students at an all girls school and their housemother. Only a handful of male characters recurred on the show. Per TV Line, ABC has not revealed which episodes are being reenacted, which makes it difficult to place which character Stewart would play.
In addition to The Facts of Life, Live in Front of a Studio Audience will revive Diff’rent Strokes. Fans of the series may recall that the former was a spinoff of the latter. The character of Mrs. Garrett originated on Different Strokes. This portion of the show will star Jon Lithgow, Kevin Hart, and Damon Wayans.
“Facts of Life” Produced by Legendary Norman Lear
Additionally, The Facts of Life joins a series of revived sitcoms produced by the legendary Norman Lear. Live in Front of a Studio Audience previously aired specials centered around All in the Family, The Jeffersons, and Good Times.
All in the Family starred Marisa Tomei as Edith Bunker and Woody Harrelson as Archie Bunker. The Jeffersons saw Jamie Foxx and Wanda Sykes step into the roles of George and Louise Jefferson. Good Times starred Andre Braugher as James Evans and Viola Davis as his wife Florida. Each episode of the series received positive reviews from critics.
Unsurprisingly, the series has been nominated for seven Emmys. These range from “Outstanding Directing” to “Outstanding Variety Special. In 2019, Live in Front of a Studio Audience won “Outstanding Variety Special (Live),” making Lear the oldest recipient in Emmy history at 97. He would go on to beat his own record the following year with another win for the series in the same category.
For those who aren’t aware, Lear is one of the most decorated winners in Emmy history. The television juggernaut has won a staggering Emmys in his long career. His shows are iconic. From All in the Family to One Day at a Time, they epitomize American culture. For that reason, Lear received the Carol Burnett Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021.
While some argue that the original series cannot be topped, Lear feels that the themes present in his work are just as relevant today as they were in 1971, when All in the Family premiered. That is his core motivation for continuing the Live series with The Facts of Life. After all, why can’t some nostalgic comedy be fun?
Live in Front of a Studio Audience: The Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes will air live on Dec. 7 at 8p.m. on ABC.