Will Smith is “hyped” to reveal a dramatic reboot of Fresh Prince of Bel Air has found a home. The upcoming series has been picked up by NBC’s streaming service, Peacock, for two seasons.
Smith, 51, made the announcement on his YouTube channel alongside the brains of the reboot, Morgan Cooper, and showrunner Chris Collins. “We have just officially closed the deal with Peacock with an unprecedented two-season-order from a pitch,” Smith excitedly told fans as he chatted to Collins and Cooper over video.
Smith, a three-decade showbusiness veteran, made the point to fans that the show getting picked up for two seasons was a really big deal. “I’ve been in this business for 30 years and that does not happen. They ordered two full seasons of Bel-Air based on the quality of the pitch and the work that you guys have done,” he said.
“So I want to say congratulations. I am hyped.” The inspiration for the dramatic retelling came from a trailer Cooper created re-imagining the rags-to-riches story as a drama.
The original 90s comedy series followed Smith’s character – the Fresh Prince – after his mother insisted he live with his rich aunt and uncle in affluent Bel Air, California to get him off the rough streets of West Philadelphia.
Cooper released the trailer of his updated version of Fresh Prince last year which got Smith’s attention and they came together to turn it into a serialised one-hour drama. Now, 18 months later it has been picked up by one of the biggest streaming services in the world, Peacock.
“With a reimagined vision, Bel-Air will dive deeper into the inherent conflicts, emotions and biases that were impossible to fully explore in a 30-minute sitcom format, while still delivering swagger and nods to the original show,” Peacock said in a statement. The show’s six-year run ended in 1996, but it has attracted a new younger audience thanks to reruns and Netflix, which is streaming all 148 episodes.
It was one of the first mainstream TV shows featuring an almost entirely black cast — and it had a big cultural impact. Viewers who had grown tired of seeing negative racial stereotypes on telly and film warmed to the show’s refreshingly different take on the black community. Among the cast of wacky characters, The Fresh Prince features a Tom Jones-obsessed glee singer, a high-flying lawyer and a sarcastic British butler — as well as the cool and charismatic lead Will.