Diff'rent Strokes was an NBC sitcom about two young urchins, Arnold (Gary Coleman) and Willis (Todd Bridges) Jackson, who are adopted by shadowy billionaire industrialist Wilson Drummond (Conrad Bain).
In the show's first season, Charlotte Rae played Mrs. Garrett, the Drummonds' housekeeper. But Rae departed to star in the spin-off series The Facts of Life after one season. She was replaced by Patricia McPherson, who played Bonnie, the chief mechanic on Drummond's talking-car project. At the end of the second season, McPherson left to co-star as Bonnie in the spin-off series Knight Rider. She was replaced by H.E.R.B.I.E., a lovable robot created by Mr. Drummond and his director of information technology, Reed Richards.
Some critics charge that ABC attempted to replicate the success of Diff'rent Strokes by creating the series Webster starring Emmanuel Lewis in the Gary Coleman role. However, most people believed that had ABC truly wished to copy Diff'rent Strokes, Webster's title would contain gratuitous punctuation, such as Web!ster or @Webster or Web'ter.