The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is getting a reboot, this time as a drama. The acclaimed sitcom will be adapted by star Will Smith and writer Morgan Cooper, based on a viral video Cooper made for YouTube about the premise. The series is in the works and is still being shopped around to different platforms.
Smith is on board for Cooper's dramatic take on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Sources close to the burgeoning production say that the idea has actually been in the works for over a year now — ever since Cooper created a four-minute clip to embody the concept in March of 2019. The video went viral, catching Smith's attention and leading to an unlikely collaboration for a super-fan. It is described as a dramatic re-imagining of the storyline from the original series, where a young man from the streets of Philadelphia was sent to live with wealthy family members in the Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Cooper will co-write the script for the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot and will direct on the show, as well. He will also be credited as a co-executive producer. Smith will be an EP as well, via his company Westbrook Studios. Original series creators Andy and Susan Borowitz, as well as producers Quincy Jones and Benny Medina will all return as executive producers.
Although the reboot does not have a home just yet, streaming services are reportedly having a bidding war for the project. The top contenders right now are NBC's Peacock, Netflix and HBO Max. Given that The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air originally aired on NBC, Peacock may have some advantage there — especially because Universal TV is one of the production companies involved. However, HBO Max does have the streaming right to the original series, so they may want to be the home or all Fresh Prince-related content.
There is no word yet on whether or not Smith himself will play a part in the reboot, or whether any other cast members will return. Smith and the cast have remained extremely close since the show ended decades ago, even hosting a public reunion recently on SnapChat. In addition to Smith, the show starred James Avery, Alfonso Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons, Tatyana M. Ali, Joseph Marcell and Janet Hubert-Whitten/Daphne Maxwell Reid.
Reboots remain a sizable portion of the TV and streaming slate this year, with nostalgia-driven content in high demand. Compared to other sitcom reboots, however, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air project puts a new twist on its premise by turning the admittedly heavy subject matter into a drama.