Alfonso Ribeiro, best known for his role as Carlton in the long-running ’90s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” wants fans to make sure their expectations are in check while anxiously awaiting the release of the reimagining of the series.
In August 2020 it was announced that a dramatic version of the NBC series, titled “Bel-Air,” would be produced by Universal TV along with Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook Studios production company after a four-minute short film of the concept created by Morgan Cooper went viral online in 2019.
Cooper will stay on as co-writer and director, and original “Fresh Prince” series producers Quincy Jones and Benny Medina, as well as creators Andy and Susan Borowitz, have signed on to return as executive producers. The project will reportedly “explore the challenges of a Black man living in today’s society and examine what it’s like for someone leaving West Philadelphia for Bel-Air, one of Los Angeles’ richest neighborhoods.”
Ribeiro, who starred opposite Will Smith in the classic series that ran from 1990-1996, made some important distinctions between the original comedy series and its upcoming edgier counterpart while chatting with E! News‘ Justin Sylvester during the April 7 episode of the network’s “Just the Sip” podcast.
“I like to call it a reimagining,” he said of “Bel-Air.” “We sometimes throw a lot of things into one word, one concept. A reboot would be taking the actual show and characters and bringing it back. This is a totally different show.”
The “America’s Funniest Home Videos” host explained that because the series is based on the theme song and not the original sitcom, it can be considered “a completely different thing.” “It’s not even based on the show. It’s based on the theme song,” he stated. “It’s a completely different thing. It’s drama. It’s not comedy. I have nothing to do with it, so I don’t really know anything more. … But I actually appreciate it even more than a reboot. Let’s take a concept and turn it into a different show.”
“I’m like, roll the dice,” he expressed supportively. “Go ahead and try it and see what happens.”
“Bel-Air” was granted a two-season order by Peacock, however, the series premiere date has yet to be released.