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 news contributor for Ringside News and Thirsty for News. Michael has an M.A. in Communication Technology from Point Park University in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.

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