NEW YORK, March 15, 2011 (PRNewswire) — More of television’s most beloved and iconic stars will be honored at the TV Land Awards 2011, it was announced today by TV Land. The wildly popular ’80s comedy series “The Facts of Life” will receive the Pop Culture Award at the annual awards show which tapes for the very first time in New York City at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Sunday, April 10 and airs on TV Land on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 9:00 PM ET/PT. Additionally, Mr. Kotter himself, Gabe Kaplan, and Robert Hegyes, “Sweathog” Juan Epstein, will join the rest of the cast of “Welcome Back, Kotter” as the show receives the 35th Anniversary Award.
Mindy Cohn, Kim Fields, Nancy McKeon, Lisa Whelchel and the beloved Mrs. Garrett, Charlotte Rae, will reunite for the first time in over 20 years to accept the Pop Culture Award for “The Facts of Life,” a coming-of-age sitcom that ran on NBC from 1979-1988. Set in Peekskill, NY, “The Facts of Life” ran for nine seasons and was a spin-off of the sitcom “Diff’rent Strokes” featuring the Drummonds’ housekeeper Edna Garrett (Charlotte Rae) as she becomes a housemother at Eastland School, a prestigious all-female boarding school.
The house of live-in girls included the wealthy and beautiful Blair Warner (Lisa Whelchel), the gossipy roller-skating Dorothy “Tootie” Ramsey (Kim Fields), innocent Natalie Green (Mindy Cohn) and streetwise Joanne “Jo” Polniaczek (Nancy McKeon). The friends share the ups and downs of growing up – from teenagers to young women – all while leaning on each other.
Later in the series, the girls go on to help Mrs. Garrett open her own dessert shop and are introduced to Garrett’s contractor George Burnett (George Clooney). After a devastating fire, the business is remodeled into a gift shop and ultimately Mrs. Garrett’s divorced sister Beverly Ann Stickle (Cloris Leachmen) moves in to look after the girls and eventually adopts a young man who works at the gift shop, Andy Moffet (Mackenzie Astin).
“Welcome Back, Kotter” co-creator Gabe Kaplan (who also starred in the comedy as Mr. Kotter) and Robert Hegyes (Juan Epstein) will join Golden Globe®-winner and two-time Academy Award®-nominee John Travolta when the cast is given the 35th Anniversary Award. Castmates Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Ron Palillo and Marcia Strassman will also be on hand.
Now in its ninth year, the “TV Land Awards 2011” pays tribute to classic and contemporary luminaries of television, music and movies. The ninety-minute telecast will feature exhilarating musical performances and will reunite some of the most iconic celebrity TV casts. Previously announced honorees include Regis Philbin (Legend Award), “Family Ties” (Fan Favorite Award) and “The Cosby Show” (Impact Award) and “Welcome Back, Kotter” (35th Anniversary Award).
Michael Levitt (“Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List,” “Ask Oprah’s All Stars,” “Scream Awards”) is executive producer; Glen Weiss is director (“The 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards,” “BET Awards,” “The 64th Annual Tony Awards”); Greg Sills is supervising producer (“VH1 Rock Honors,” “The Teen Choice Awards,” “Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards”) and TV Land’s Larry W. Jones and Casey Patterson are executive producers.