This is a story about how a viral trailer turned into a bona fide TV series. Remember that fan-created Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot trailer that re-imagined the popular ’90s sitcom as a drama? Apparently it caught Will Smith’s attention—and now he and Morgan Cooper, the super-fan who created the trailer, have teamed up to bring the show to life.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cooper will co-write the script, direct, and serve as co-executive producer on the new series, which will also bring back original Fresh Prince producers Smith, Quincy Jones, Benny Medina, and creators Andy & Susan Borowitz as executive producers. Chris Collins (The Wire) will show-run, executive produce, and co-write.
TV reboots and revivals are still a solid and popular bet for networks, but the audience for these projects has become more selective over the years. CBS’s Murphy Brown revival fizzled out after just one season last year, and Spectrum’s Mad About You reboot faced scathing reviews upon its debut. With Fuller House, one of the first productions to kick off the revival craze, coming to a close earlier this year, one could argue we’ve entered Phase Two of reboot mania. At this point, a project needs a solid concept to actually succeed with both critics and audiences.
That said, the new Fresh Prince feels like a solid bet. The trailer already generated plenty of interest and enthusiasm on its own, and with some of the original team returning, there’s certainly lots of potential. (Also, given Will Smith’s ongoing relationships with a number of original cast members, a cameo or two is more than possible.)
THR reports that streaming platforms including Peacock, Netflix, and HBO Max are competing for the hot new series. (HBO Max might have extra incentive to bid high, given that the WarnerMedia-owned original series already resides on the platform.)
Between this and A24’s film adaptation of the unforgettable “Zola” Twitter thread, this is shaping up to be a banner year for viral crazes hitting Hollywood.