(Above: Todd Bridges and Gary Coleman. Source: YouTube video)
This weekend, starting Saturday at noon ET, over-the-air channel Decades will host an 86-episode marathon of Diff’rent Strokes, the sitcom about a wealthy white Manhattan businessman who adopts the two black sons of his deceased housekeeper.
The series, which aired a total of 181 episodes over eight seasons (1978-1986), first on NBC and then on ABC for its final year, starred precocious Gary Coleman as Arnold. Arnold and his protective older brother Willis (Todd Bridges), experienced growing pains (ok, that’s the name of another ’80s sitcom) in the Drummond mansion. Conrad Bain was their father, Phillip Drummond, Dana Plato their sister Kimberly, and Charlotte Rae housekeeper Edna Garrett. Rae’s character would soon leave the show for her own sitcom, The Facts of Life (1979-1988), which lasted nine seasons on NBC.
The Decades binge kicks off with the premiere episode, “Movin’ In.” At 5:30 pm, Sanford and Son’s LaWanda Page guest stars as Arnold and Willis’ visiting cousin in “The Relative.” At 8:30 pm, a two-parter, “The Trip,” involves the cast of Hello, Larry (1979-1980), a short-lived NBC comedy starring M*A*S*H’s Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake, McLean Stevenson.
Diff’rent Strokes regularly airs weekdays at 6:30 am ET on sister over-the-air channel MeTV. Check the MeTV schedule to confirm times in your area. To find your local channel number, visit MeTV’s Where to Watch page. Diff’rent Strokes, though, will change its over-the-air home from MeTV to Antenna TV next month.
You can stream the entire series with a Starz subscription which costs $8.99 after a seven-day free trial.Starz is also available as an Amazon add-on channel, which costs 99 cents a month for the first three months and then $8.99 monthly thereafter.
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