THE FACTS OF LIFE
spun off of Diff'rent Strokes and debuted on August 24th, 1979. School Dietian Mrs. Edna Garrett, played by actress Charlotte Rae, mentored and guided 4 girls: the snobby-rich Blair Warner (Lisa Whelchel), gossiping 'Tootie' Ramsey (Kim Fields), impressionable Natalie Green (Mindy Cohn), and street-wise Jo Polniaczek (Nancy McKeon) at the all exclusive private boarding school, Eastland Academy. After somewhat of a slow start, the show found it's audience and became a definitive popular culture icon of the 1980's. In television history, it was the first show to feature an all-female-cast.
It was the longest-running sitcom of that era and evolved over time. The girls graduated from Eastland Academy. Mrs. Garrett opened her own gourmet food shop 'Edna's Edibles' which later evolved into the 1950's style malt shop called, 'Over Our Heads.' The show tackled many issues such as: infidelity, abortion, extortion, rape, homosexuality, divorce, cancer, sex, drugs, and suicide. Although the show covered many social issues, it never had the status of being an 'issue' show or 'after school special' since comedy was added to the formula. After 209 episodes, nine seasons, several spin-off attempts, cast additions/changes, and two movies the show was cancelled on September 24th, 1988. In November 2001, the cast reunited to star in ABC's two hour The Facts of Life Reunion Movie.