The Facts of Life Reunion is a 2001 American made-for-television comedy film based on the 1979–1988 NBC sitcom The Facts of Life which reunited original cast members Charlotte Rae, Lisa Whelchel, Mindy Cohn and Kim Fields, with the exception of Nancy McKeon, who was unable to participate due to scheduling conflicts with her television series The Division.
The film originally aired on ABC as part of The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday, November 18, 2001. It is the third television film based on the series, preceded by The Facts of Life Goes to Paris (1982) and The Facts of Life Down Under (1987).
Thirteen years later, a widowed Mrs. Garrett is heading back to America on a cruise ship, ready for a new life and also looking forward to seeing "her girls" again, all of whom have grown into successful, independent women: Blair Warner is a lawyer and also owns a hotel empire (Warner Enterprises) with her husband Tad Warner, managed by Mrs. Garrett's son Raymond; Dorothy "Tootie" Ramsey, now preferring to be called Dorothy, is the host of her own morning talk show called Waking Up with Dorothy in Los Angeles and the single mother of a 10-year-old girl Tisha (fathered by her longtime boyfriend and later deceased husband Jeff Williams); Natalie Green is a television news producer at CNN with an active love life and a frenetic work schedule that takes her all over the world; and Jo Polniaczek is a devoted police officer still married to Rick Bonner and the mother of a 12-year-old daughter Jamie.
Natalie has talked Mrs. Garrett and all the girls into spending the Thanksgiving holiday together back in Peekskill, New York. When Jo is unable to attend the reunion because of work, her daughter Jamie comes instead in her absence. Natalie has received two different marriage proposals but when her two boyfriends, Robert and Harper, unexpectedly show up at the reunion, trouble soon starts and it's up to the girls to help solve Natalie's predicament. Over the course of the holiday, the girls reveal to one another the personal troubles they face in their adult years and discover that, despite the time that has passed, they need each other's friendship more than ever.Charlotte Rae as Mrs. Edna Garrett
Lisa Whelchel as Blair Warner
Mindy Cohn as Natalie Green
Kim Fields as Dorothy "Tootie" Ramsey
Joel Brooks as Raymond Garrett
Carl Marotte as Rick Bonner
Mallory Margel as Jamie Bonner
Kevin Jubinville as Tad Warner
Alexandra Johnson as Tisha Ramsey
Jeffrey Ray as Jonathan Monroe
Barclay Hope as Robert James
Mark Lutz as Harper Jason
Joe Dinicol as Sam
The Facts of Life Reunion was filmed from September 10, 2001 to October 8, 2001 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. All the outdoor scenes in Peekskill and the train station were shot as the World Trade Center went down during the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City.
Nancy McKeon originally met with the reunion's producers early on and offered to direct the movie. "I suggested that Jo be dead and that everybody come to her funeral and we do something like The Big Chill," she recalled. "THAT would have interested me." She had no takers. Still, McKeon insisted she had nothing but fond memories of The Facts of Life and owed her career to the experience. But she wanted to move on and continue to grow as an actress and didn't want to be known only as Jo. Also, she was busy filming the second season of her Lifetime crime-drama series The Division and, although she was set to do a cameo in the movie, the events of September 11 made those plans impossible for her to travel to Canada.
The original writers from The Facts of Life were said to not care, weren't around, or didn't want to be a part of it so the script was written by Max Enscoe and Annie de Young with an assist by Kevin Hench and Heather Juergensen.
In a TV Guide magazine article in March 2001, Mackenzie Astin, who played Andy Moffett on The Facts of Life from 1985–88, was asked about the reunion and he was quoted as saying: "I keep hearing about that too. I hope it's not happening, because nobody's called me! If it does, I hope they do call." Ultimately, Astin did not appear in the movie, neither did series regulars Cloris Leachman, George Clooney and Sherrie Krenn.
Nielsen ratings for The Facts of Life Reunion were 11.5 million viewers, 7.1 rating, 11 share and ranked #51 out of about 123 shows. In 2002, it re-aired on the ABC Family Channel on Saturday, September 14, Tuesday, September 17 and Wednesday, September 18.