Kevin Hart will take on the iconic role of Arnold Jackson in an upcoming ABC “Diff’rent Strokes” special. Arnold was famously played by Gary Coleman in the beloved American sitcom. The show will air as part of ABC’s 90-minute “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” on December 7th.

A press release issued Thursday outlined the plans for the show. John Lithgow will play Mr. Drummond. Damon Wayans will play Willis and Ann Dowd takes on the role of Mrs. Garrett. It’s an all-star cast with great source material.

One puzzling thing about the casting is that Arnold was played by Gary Coleman as a child. While Hart is a diminutive 5’4″, Gary Coleman never in his life grew above 4’8″. Bewildered fans took to Twitter to express their confusion.

Kevin Hart himself hasn’t made any official announcement about the role via his Twitter. The ABC special will also feature a segment from “The Facts of Life.” which was a spin-off from Diff’rent Strokes that became a hit. Casting info for that part of the special hasn’t been released at this time.

ABC has previously run similar “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” specials in the past. All in the Family, Good Times, and The Jeffersons were also featured. It’s one way ABC is dealing with the need for live, event-oriented programming in a changing television landscape.

President of Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment says that the concept has become one of the most anticipated highlights in their programming schedule. The ensemble casts and modern takes on nostalgic shows bridge gaps between generations, he believes. Apparently, so does Kevin Hart.

Are you looking forward to Kevin Hart replacing Gary Coleman? Let us know in the comments!

Michael Perry

Michael Perry is a writer for Ringside News and its sister pop-culture news site, Thirsty for News. He’s been a pro wrestling fan since he was old enough to talk, which places his origins as a fan back to WrestleMania 3. If you look closely, you can find him in his teenage form in the crowd during the 1998 King of the Ring and any number of ECW FanCam tapes. Michael has an M.A. in Communication Technology from Point Park University in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. His writing experience includes work for 247Sports, F4WOnline, and a litany of completely random freelance copywriting and ghostwriting jobs. Michael is working hard every day to bring a little extra to the stories he tells. With a passion for pro wrestling and pop culture, he’s delivering the news with the context it takes to understand it. He believes the world of professional wrestling is one of the most fascinating cultural phenomena of all time and loves to weave together it’s past and present. In his spare time, Michael likes to torture himself as a University of Pittsburgh football fan, sample tasty beers, and pretending to be good at Rocket League.

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