1980-1981 Series Information
Information on the show during the year 1980.

  • Year Information
    Since NBC was still the lowest rated network, and was struggling to survive, executive producers and programmers for NBC came up with an idea not to drop the #74 ranked show, but to renew it. There were many problems with the show such as light weight scripts, too many cast members, stereotyping ethnicity's, and more. The first major overhaul on the show had to do with the writers. All the writers were fired and Linda Marsh, and Margie Peters took over. Margie Peter's noted that the show in it's first season seemed very stereotypical because of Tootie rollarskating around everywhere, 'which at the time was very popular with African American culture.' The next problem had to do with the dress code, the school uniforms were haltertops and short shorts, even in the dead of winter. Margie Peter's ordered to cut the rollarskating bit, and suggested new 'realistic' school uniforms.

    The most drastic change had to do with the cast members. John Lawlor (Steven Bradley) was the first to go, "It's show business for me, but for some of the girls I think it was a bit of a jolt." The next to be axed was Nancy Schacter (Nancy Olson), who ironically was also the first to be hired. The next decision was between Lisa Whelchel (Blair Warner), Julie Piekarski (Sue Ann Weaver), and Julie Haddock (Cindy Webster); the three 'pretty' girls. There were two too many, Piekarski and Haddock were fired. And lastly, Molly Ringwald left the show to start her movie debut. Now that casting was cut complete, the ensemble of Charlotte Rae, Lisa Whelchel, Kim Fields, and Mindy Cohn were ready to begin a second season, however, there was room for one more. Nancy McKeon was hired as a tomboy character, Joanna Marie Polniaczek, to spice up the predictable cast.The Facts of Life had a simple premise.

    In the first season Charlotte Rae, as Mrs. Garrett, took over as housemother, she was then promoted, in the second season, to school dietition. The set changed from the school dorm to the school cafeteria. Blair and Jo didn't ever get along, and to prove a point they stole the school cafeteria van with Natalie and Tootie, and got themselves on probation, where they were put under the supervision of Mrs. Garrett. The second season included many well known guest stars like Gary Coleman, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Ja'net DuBois. Since the show jumped from #74 to #26 writers and producers tried to get NBC to spin-off some more shows, like in this season, "The Parkers," based off of the episode Brian and Slyvia.

  • 1980 Cast
    Charlotte Rae -- Mrs. Edna Garrett
    Lisa Whelchel -- Blair Warner
    Kim Fields -- Dorothy "Tootie" Ramsey
    Mindy Cohn -- Natalie Green
    Nancy McKeon -- Jo Polniaczek
    Hugh Gillin -- Howard the cook (occasional)
    Geri Jewell -- Geri Warner (occasional)

  • 1980 Guest Appearances
    14.The New Girl PRT 1:
    Peter Fox (Officer Barry Shuler)
    Reb Brown (ID checker)
    Gary Coleman (Arnold Jackson)

    15.The New Girl PRT 2:
    Hugh Gillin (Howard)
    Molly Ringwald (Molly)
    Susie Goddard (Tough Girl)
    Amy Gibson (Margo)
    Rene Lampart (Boy)
    Bunny Summers (Matron)

    16.Double Standard
    Grant Wilson (Harrison Andrews)

    17.Who Am I?
    Erik Moses (Fred)
    David Coburn (Carl)
    Tan Adams (Julia)
    Shawntee Northcutte (Madge)
    Cheryl Epps (Terry)
    Tim Clark (Boy #1)
    Gary Dubin (Boy #2)

    18.Cousin Geri
    Hugh Gillin (Howard)
    Geri Jewell (Geri)

    Dick O'Neill (Henry Douglas)
    Hazel Shermet (Saleslady)
    Brad Trumbull (Guard)

    20.Teenage Marriage PRT 1
    Clark Brandon (Eddie Brennan)
    Brian Fuld (Bink)
    Bella Bruck (Woman Attendant)
    Mark Savalle (Waiter)

    21.Teenage Marriage PRT 2
    Hugh Gillin (Howard)
    Clark Brandon (Eddie Brennan)
    Bill Dana (Hotel Manager)

    22.Breaking Point
    Denise Halma (Cynthia)

    23.Sex Symbol
    Julie Anne Haddock (Cindy)
    Julie Piekarski (Sue Ann)
    Felice Schachter (Nancy)
    Dan Spector (Neil)
    Holly Gagnier (Helen)

    24.The Secret
    Alex Rocco (Charlie Polniazek)

    25.Pretty Babies
    Felice Schachter (Nancy)
    John Mark Robinson (Jonathon Dutton)
    Michelle Downey (Rena)

    26.Bought And Sold
    Zsa Zsa Gabor (Countess Calvet)
    Todd Bridges (Willis)

    27.Free Spirit
    Tom Fitzsimmons (Alex Garrett)

    28.Brian and Sylvia
    Richard Dean Anderson (Brian Parker)
    Rosanne Katon (Sylvia Parker)
    Ja'net DuBois (Ethel)
    Anthony Holland (Ray)
    Peter Barth (The Stage Manager)
    Dudley Knight (The Announcer)
    Ron Sloan (Danny Robinson)
    Thos Peters (Larry Baker)

    Hugh Gillin (Howard)
    Kenneth Mars (Mr. Harris)
    Julie Anne Haddock (Cindy)
    Julie Piekarski (Sue Ann)
    Felice Schachter (Nancy)

  • Episode Guide
    Season Two Episode Guide

  • Pictures
    Season Two Photo Gallery

  • Audio
    Season Two Theme Song (1980-1985 Version)

    Season Two Closing Theme Song (1980-1985 Version)

  • Video
    Season Two Opening Credits (1980-1981 Version)

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