Lifetime’s You Light Up My Christmas reunites Tootie, Natalie, Blair, and Jo from The Facts of Life. It’s the first time that Kim Fields, Mindy Cohn, Lisa Whelchel, and Nancy McKeon have all been on screen together since 1988. The hit series started as a spin-off from Diff’rent Strokes in 1979 and ran until 1988, making it one of the longest-running sitcoms of the 1980s. Fans of the series have waited over 30 years to see the cast together on screen. You can see them together in the trailer below.
Kim Fields stars in You Light Up My Christmas and is also an executive producer on the project. It was her initial idea to reach out to The Facts of Life cast for a mini reunion and they were all interested in helping out and getting together again, though George Clooney did not take part in the festivities. All it took was few phone calls. Fields had this to say about getting the gang back together again.
“The movie has the wonderful ice skating rink in the storyline and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if my Facts of Life sisters were these characters that ran the skating rink, and we named the ice skating rink Charlotte for Charlotte Rae?'”
Charlotte Rae, who played Mrs. Garrett on The Facts of Life, passed away in 2018. While the cast is on screen together in You Light Up My Christmas, one cast member wasn’t able to make it to Vancouver for shooting. Nancy McKeon takes part in the reunion, but she is not shown in the trailer. Kim Fields explains.
“Nancy McKeon had a really difficult, unexpected family emergency she had to work through, and she still stayed committed, and said, ‘I will still do the part – I can’t come to Vancouver and film with you guys, but I will do my part and you can put it in there.’ We’re still on screen together… It was one of the hardest things that she ever had to go through, (and) she still put it down for me.”
Inspired by true events, You Light Up My Christmas is the story of Emma (Kim Fields), who returns to her hometown built around her family’s pioneer Christmas Light Factory two weeks before Christmas. However, upon Emma’s return, she discovers the lights have gone dim in the once festive town, prompting her to reconnect with an old flame (Adrian Holmes) to set their hearts and the town ablaze with light again. From the trailer, it looks like The Facts of Life cast will have a pretty decent-sized role.
You Light Up My Christmas will premiere Sunday, December 1st at 8/7c. In addition to being one of the biggest sitcoms of the 1980s, The Facts of Life featured a ton of guest stars who were either already established or went on to become big stars. Some of the guests include George Clooney, Helen Hunt, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Jermaine Jackson, Eve Plumb, Jean Smart, John Astin, Bobby Rydell, Fabian, Dick Van Patten, Penelope Ann Miller, Doug Savant, Dennis Haysbert, Lois Nettleton, Richard Moll, David Spade, Richard Grieco, Juliette Lewis, Seth Green, Charo, Mayim Bialik, Molly Picon, Deborah Harmon, Irene Tedrow, El DeBarge, Joyce Bulifant, Stacey Q, and Anne Jackson. You can check out the reunion above, thanks to the Lifetime YouTube channel.