Show Summary

The Facts of Life started in 1979 and revolved around seven girls and their housemother, Mrs. Garrett who had just recently left her job as housekeeper on Diff'rent Strokes. The set for the show was called The Eastland School For Girls in Peekskill, NY. The first episode aired on August 24, 1979 and the ratings for that episode and the rest of the first season weren't very promising but still NBC decided to keep it for another season but some changes had to be made. The original cast of seven girls was now cut down to three girls and one new comer, Nancy Mckeon. Molly Ringwald happened to be one of the girls cut after the first season. Nancy Mckeon played the tough and street wise character, Jo Polniaczek. Between the cut down cast, a new comer to the show, and more serious episodes the ratings for The Facts of Life began to rise and it became a more promising series for NBC to air. The set continued to be The Eastland School for the next three seasons and the cast was as follows, Charlotte Rae ( Mrs. Garrett ), Lisa Whelchel (Blair Warner), Nancy McKeon(Jo Polniaczek), Mindy Cohn (Natalie Green), and Kim Fields as Tootie Ramsey. At the beginning of season five Mrs. Garrett decided that she wanted to leave her job at The Eastland School and open her own croiisant shop called Edna's Edibles. Blair and Jo and were now in college and lived in the house attached to the shop along with Mrs. Garrett, Natalie and Tootie. For seasons five and six this shop remained the main setting for the show. At the start of season seven the girls return from summer vacation to find that Edna's Edibles has burned down. Mrs. Garrett decides that she doesn't want another shop but the girls convince her to open a new hip and trendy boutique called Over Our Heads. Selling everything from fish pens to blow up palm trees. The girls were now beginning to grow up and by the end of this season they had all graduated from Eastland. Mrs. Garrett now felt that the girls didn't need her anymore in their lives and she decides to move to Africa to join the Peace Corps. Her sister Beverly Ann took over as care taker for the girls and helped them run Over Our Heads. In mid season eight they close down Over Our Heads. Episodes ratings were now beginning to fall as they entered the ninth season so the producers decided on a more powerful subject for an episode. The episode called for Blair to loose her virginity. But Lisa, a devoted Christian didn't want to take this role and decided to not appear in this episode. So Mindy Cohn (Natalie) decided to take the role and when this episode aired on February 6, 1988 it was the highest rated episode in Facts of Life history. But about 7 episodes later The Facts of Life aired their series finale. In this episode Blair bought Eastland and became the headmistress there and she also allowed boys to now attend. Through nine seasons The Facts of Life expierenced many changes to the show and those changes probably kept it going for all of those years. It wasn't a critical success but it appealed to the masses and that is what has given it staying power to find so many new fans today.