The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot now has a home, as executive producer Will Smith has confirmed that NBC's streaming service Peacock will exclusively stream the upcoming series. Previously, Smith had already revealed that a more dramatic take of the classic comedy series was in the works, inspired by the viral Bel-Air mock trailer on YouTube created by filmmaker Morgan Cooper. In a new video posted to Smith's official YouTube account, the former Fresh Prince star reveals that Peacock won the bidding war for the show, and better yet, NBC doubled up by ordering two seasons from the start.
"We have just officially closed the deal with Peacock with an unprecedented two season order from a pitch," Smith says in the video, speaking with Cooper and showrunner Chris Collins. "I've been in this business for thirty 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. So I want to say congratulations. I am hyped."
When Smith rose to fame by starring as Will in the original Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the series was primarily a comedy though it was not without its dramatic moments. Its very concept sees a teenager sent away by his mother to live with wealthy relatives in Bel Air following a West Philadelphia brawl. In addition to Smith, the ensemble cast also featured James Avery, Alfonso Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons, Tatyana M. Ali, Joseph Marcell, Janet Hubert-Whitten, and later Daphne Maxwell Reid. The series ran for six seasons between 1990 and 1996 on NBC and is one of the most popular television shows of its era}.
The new creative direction for the upcoming Peacock reboot is based on the Bel-Air short film that was uploaded to YouTube in 2019. Presented as a mock trailer, its story presents a much more dramatic version of the same pitch used for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, depicting a gang fight at a basketball game that leads to Will's mother sending him straight to Bel Air. Many of the characters presented in Bel-Air are also very different compared to their counterparts from the sitcom, incorporating many modern day elements and themes into the story.
"There's so many layers to these characters," Cooper also says in the video clip. "We're really going to peel back the layers of these iconic characters and explore this world in a really unforgettable way. It's a show that's really going to surprise people in the best way possible."
The original Fresh Prince of Bel-Air cast are also set to reunite very soon for an unscripted special on HBO Max. Although the footage won't stream until November, the cast will shoot the special on Sept. 10, marking 30 years to the day that the show first premiered on NBC. Along with Smith, the reunion will feature Alfonso Ribeiro, Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Daphne Maxwell Reid, and DJ Jazzy Jeff. With Marcus Raboy directing, the special will see the gang returning for "a night of music, dancing and surprise guests."
The news of the Bel-Air series update comes to us from Will Smith on YouTube.