Now, this is the story all about how two showrunners stepped down from a dramatic reboot of a beloved sitcom. About two years ago, writer and director Morgan Cooper released a fan-made trailer for a modern retelling of the Will Smith sitcom The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. Simply titled Bel-Air, the three-and-half-minute video reimagined the series as the dramatic story of a Black teen from the inner city who gets in one little fight—you know how it goes. It’s a grittier take on the show, cutting out the stuff about license plates and dice in the mirror, and added these expressionistic shots of Will wearing an ornate crown.
The thing was a YouTube smash, making its way to one of YouTube’s most popular creators, Will Smith. About a year and a half after the trailer’s release, and one bidding war later, Smith announced that the show received a two-season order from a little streaming service called Peacock. You know about that, too. Peacock is a service that we all know and love.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, though, not all is well in Bel-Air. Showrunner Chris Collins, who previously worked on Sons Of Anarchy and The Wire, recently stepped down from the series, leaving it to co-showrunners T.J. Brady and Rasheed Newson. They will together act as the show’s third showrunner. Collins replaced Diane Houston as showrunner earlier this year. Interestingly enough, according to THR, the show is going in a different creative direction. That could mean many things, of course, but it certainly makes one wonder about just how committed the studio is to this whole dramatic Fresh Prince thing. They write, “Sources note that Peacock is looking for a broad-skewing network-style show, while Collins wanted to deliver an edgy, premium series. It’s unclear what Houston’s vision was for the series, which has undergone some rewrites.”
Collins was set to co-write the scripts with Cooper, who is still attached to the series. Still, Hollywood Reporter sources say that the studio is happy with what Collins delivered (happy enough to, you know, allow him to step down as showrunner), but who knows how much of that work will make it to the series.