12:10pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Facts of Life' Reboot in the Works at Sony
The Facts of Life could be returning to TV.
Sony Pictures Television, which owns distribution rights to the sitcom, is in early talks to reboot the Diff'rent Strokes spinoff that originally aired on NBC for nine seasons and more than 200 episodes. A network is not yet attached and a search for a writer is underway.
Sources say Leonardo DiCaprio and Jessica Biel are in early talks to executive produce the reboot via their respective Appian Way and Ocean Films production companies. Sony TV declined comment.
The series, which starred Charlotte Rae, Lisa Whelchel, Kim Fields, Mandy Cohn and Nancy McKeon, is one of the longest-running comedies of the 1980s and revolved around a housemother and her students at the all-female Eastland School in New York. The multicamera comedy was created by Dick Clair and Jenna McMahon.
The Facts of Life redo arrives as reboots continue to be in high demand as broadcast, cable and streaming services alike look for proven brands in a bid to cut through a cluttered landscape expected to top 520 in 2018 alone. Key to the reboots and revivals is having the original producers involved, which Facts of Life has with Sony TV. Reboots are not just easier — and inexpensive — to market given their built-in brand awareness, but in many cases they also help the studio further monetize library content. (Will & Grace producer Universal TV, for example, was able to sell the comedy's entire library as part of its reboot deal with Hulu.)
The Facts of Life reboot project arrives days after news broke that Warner Bros. TV is looking to revive ALF, though a network is not yet attached. Both ALF and The Facts of Life are multicamera comedies and arrive as the genre is seeing a resurgence following the breakout success of ABC's Roseanne. Broadcasters have increased the number of multicams this season as the format is faster and cheaper to produce.