‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ drama restart in the works

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Based on Morgan Cooper’s viral YouTube trailer, the Will Smith, Benny Medina, and Quincy Jones update is currently being purchased from streamers including HBO Max, Peacock, and Netflix, among others.

Now it’s a story of how… a viral YouTube trailer is turning into a hot TV series.Will Smith and Morgan Cooper team up to adapt the latter’s dramatic reimagining of the premiere’s beloved NBC comedy The prince of Bel-Air.

Bel-Air is described as a dramatic take on the old NBC comedy that catapulted Smith to stardom after spending six seasons as the smart kid who moved from Philly to the upper class neighborhood.

Sources say The Hollywood Reporter that the new Bel-Air has been in the works for more than a year after the four-minute clip went viral when it was released in March 2019 and caught Smith’s attention. Cooper, a Fresh prince super fan, created and directed the trailer that reimagined the series as if it were a drama. He will co-write the screenplay, direct and be credited as a co-EP.

The drama series is currently being purchased from streamers and is a co-production between Smith’s Westbrook Studios and the original Universal TV producers. Sources say The Hollywood Reporter that Peacock, Netflix, and HBO Max are among the streamers bidding on the potential series. HBO Max is the current broadcast house for the original series.

Original series producers Smith, Quincy Jones, Benny Medina as well as creators Andy and Susan Borowitz are all set to return as executive producers. Chris Collins (The Wire, Crash, Sons of Anarchy) will serve as showrunner, executive producer, and is expected to co-write the screenplay alongside Cooper.

The prince of Bel-Air ran for six seasons from 1990 to 1996 on NBC and was produced by Jones, Warner Bros. TV and what has become Universal Television. Smith has performed alongside James Avery, Alfonso Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons, Tatyana M. Ali, Joseph Marcell and Janet Hubert-Whitten / Daphne Maxwell Reid. Smith has stayed close to the cast and recently reunited with Everyone for SnapChat.

Reboots remain in high demand across broadcast, cable, and streaming platforms as they come with built-in recognition and an audience with built-in awareness, which helps reduce marketing costs and facilitates crossing a crowded landscape. The key to reboots is to have the original creators and studio attached, which Bel-Air has in spades. Miguel Melendez and Terence Carter of Westbrook Studios are also attached to executive production.



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