The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
|Some or all of this article's listed sources may not be reliable. (April 2011)|
|The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air|
The mid-program bumper
|Format||Black sitcom, Family sitcom, Teen sitcom|
|Created by||Andy Borowitz
Tatyana M. Ali
Daphne Maxwell Reid
|Theme music composer||The Fresh Prince in association with A Touch of Jazz, Inc.|
|Opening theme||"Yo! Home To Bel-Air", performed by The Fresh Prince|
|Composer(s)||Quincy Jones III|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||148 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Quincy Jones
Kevin Wendle (season 1)
Winifred Hervey (seasons 2–3)
Gary H. Miller (season 4-5)
Cheryl Gard (mid-late season 5)
Will Smith (season 6)
|Location(s)||Hollywood Center Studios
Hollywood, California (1990–1991)
Sunset Gower Studios
Hollywood, California (1991–1993)
Burbank, California (1993–1996)
|Camera setup||Videotape; Multi-camera|
|Running time||23 minutes|
|Production company(s)||The Stuffed Dog Company
Quincy Jones Productions (seasons 1-3)
Quincy Jones/David Salzman Entertainment (seasons 4–6)
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Original run||September 10, 1990– May 20, 1996|
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is an American television sitcom that originally aired on NBC from September 10, 1990, to May 20, 1996. The show stars Will Smith as a fictionalized version of himself, a street-smart teenager from West Philadelphia who is sent to move in with his wealthy aunt and uncle in their Bel Air mansion after getting into a fight on a local basketball court. In the series, his lifestyle often clashes with the lifestyle of his relatives in Bel Air. The 148 episodes were broadcast over six seasons.
Will Smith was a popular and successful rapper during the late 1980s, but he spent his money freely and grossly underpaid his income taxes. The IRS eventually assessed him a penalty of $2.8 million, seizing many of his belongings and garnishing his income. This almost caused Smith to go bankrupt when, in 1989, he was approached by the television network NBC, who signed him on to a contract and created a sitcom focused on him.
The pilot episode began filming on May 1, 1990.
The theme song was written and performed by Smith, as "The Fresh Prince". The music was composed by Quincy Jones, who is credited with Smith at the end of each episode. The music often used to bridge scenes together during the show is based on a similar chord structure. The full version of the theme song was used unedited in the first three episodes. The full-length version, which is 2:52, was included on Will Smith's Greatest Hits album and attributed to him only. A 3:23 version was released in the Netherlands in 1992, and reached #3 on the charts.
The mansion used for the exterior shots of "the Banks mansion" is a house located at 251 North Bristol Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90049, which was built in 1937.
Interiors were shot on a soundstage on premade sets. After Season 1 the mansion sets were completely rebuilt. In the second season, the kitchen and living room sets were rebuilt much larger with a more contemporary style (as opposed to the much more formal style of the first season), and were connected directly by an archway, allowing scenes to be shot continuously between the sets.
The theme song and opening sequence set the premise of the show. Will Smith is a street-smart teenager, born and raised in West Philadelphia, who was sent to live with his auntie and uncle in the "town" of Bel Air, Los Angeles after getting in a fight with street bullies while playing basketball. He flew from Philadelphia to Los Angeles on a one-way ticket in first class. He then whistles for a taxi that is described in the opening sequence as having a vanity plate with the word "FRESH" on it.
Cast and characters
- Will Smith as Will "The Fresh Prince" Smith
- Alfonso Ribeiro as Carlton Banks
- James Avery as Philip Banks
- Karyn Parsons as Hilary Banks
- Janet Hubert-Whitten as Vivian Banks (Seasons 1–3)
- Daphne Maxwell Reid as Vivian Banks (Seasons 4–6)
- Tatyana M. Ali as Ashley Banks
- Joseph Marcell as Geoffrey, the Butler
- Ross Bagley as Nicholas "Nicky" Banks
- DJ Jazzy Jeff as Jazz
- Nia Long as Lisa Wilkes, Will's girlfriend and later fiancée
- Tyra Banks as Jackie Ames, Will's ex-girlfriend
- Vernee Watson-Johnson as Vy Smith, Will's mother
Crossovers and other appearances
During the fall 1991-92 season, NBC gained two hit television shows to anchor their Monday night line-up (Blossom aired immediately after The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air). To gain popularity between the two shows, Will Smith appeared in an episode as himself under the rap persona of The Fresh Prince. Several episodes later, Karyn Parsons showed up in an episode of Blossom as Hilary Banks. Parsons also appeared in the Patti LaBelle sitcom, Out All Night as her Fresh Prince character.
In the House and Fresh Prince were both executive produced by Winifred Hervey, David Salzman and Quincy Jones. During the second season's first episode, Alfonso Ribeiro and Tatyana Ali appeared as their Fresh Prince characters (Carlton and Ashley Banks) in the crossover episode "Dog Catchers". Later that season, James Avery (Phillip Banks) appeared as a mediator in the episode "Love on a One-Way Street". In the Season 4 episode "My Pest Friend's Wedding", James Avery and Daphne Maxwell Reid (Vivian Banks) guest starred as Dr. Maxwell Stanton's parents. Both Avery and Reid portrayed the parents of Ribeiro's Fresh Prince character. Joseph Marcell, who played the wisecracking Geoffrey Butler on Fresh Prince, also appeared as an officiating minister in the same episode.
The series was originally an NBC production in association with The Stuffed Dog Company and Quincy Jones Entertainment. After the show was released to syndication in 1994, the series distributed with Warner Bros. Television Distribution, which continues to distribute the show worldwide (although NBCUniversal does own the series' copyright). WGN America was the first cable channel to acquire the series in 1997, TBS acquired the series a year later in 1998; both channels carried the series until the fall of 2003, though TBS reacquired the series in 2007. The theme song was shown in the original TBS run, but after TBS re-acquired Fresh Prince in 2007, the opening credits were truncated and the theme song removed and replaced with the instrumental version used as the show's closing theme; these versions also re-added portions of scenes cut from the original syndicated prints for some episodes, particularly those from seasons 3-6. TBS continues to air the series today, early in the morning. Reruns also aired on WPIX-TV on weeknights from 1994 until 1996, and as a weekday basis, sometimes on weekends until 2004.
The series aired on Nick at Nite from 2004 to 2009, as well as sister network (through Nickelodeon) The N (now TeenNick) with portions of scenes that were removed from other syndicated airings, with parts of scenes kept in other syndicated airings removed due to time constraints; the series was dropped from its schedule in September 2009 after Disney/ABC purchased the rights to the show. The show will return to Nick at Nite in October 2014.
In July 2009, Disney XD acquired the rights to the series, though it was quickly moved from prime-time to late night airings, and only episodes from seasons 1-3 are aired, mainly because those episodes are more appropriate for young viewers and does not contain as much mature themes, sexual content and strong language as later episodes. But in August 2010, Disney XD stopped airing the show.
ABC Family acquired the series in September 2008, though airing all 148 episodes; originally airing exclusively on Saturday nights, the series was added to ABC Family's weekday line-up in late 2009, where it currently also airs at midnight.
TBS currently airs the show in syndication.
In Australia, the show was aired on the Nine Network from 1991 until 1996, and was syndicated various times throughout the 2000s. On Foxtel, Australia's cable network, the series was aired on Nickelodeon and Nick at Nite. The show is currently being aired on the Nine Network at irregular time frames on weekends.
In the UK, the show was exclusively aired in 1991 on BBC Two up until the Summer 2004, originally in the DEF II programming block. The channel edited some of the episodes so that, like the pilot, the titles would come before the beginning of the episode; this was indicated by the lack of credits in the first scene. Other episodes were broadcast with the pre-titles teaser intact. It has since aired on digital channels Trouble and Channel One, both of which are now defunct, before moving to Sky Living Loves. Since Summer 2011, it now airs on Viva, MTV UK and Nickelodeon UK, where airings on the latter are heavily edited both for time constraints and suggestive references unsuitable for Nickelodeon's young demographic.
In the Philippines, the shows was aired on GMA Network exclusively in 1992 up until 1998, the series was originally in the prime time block in every episodes. In 2009, the series return to a prime time slot on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday aired on Solar TV until early 2011.
In Ireland, the show aired on Network 2's children's strand The Den until its final number of seasons when it was felt that the series had become too grown up for younger children, RTÉ moved the series to a prime time slot on Friday evenings. In 2011 RTÉ Two began re-runs of the series on their children's strand TRTÉ at 11:30.
The series has been airing on Nick@Nite Latin America since 2006.
In Spain, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was a huge success. Originally it arrived in Spain via regional broadcaster TV3 who screened episodes dubbed into Catalan, but the series would go unnoticed until national broadcaster Antena3TV picked up the rights for a national broadcast. Titled El principe de Bel Air, the series would open with a Spanish version of the Fresh Prince rap. The series took the 2pm weekday comedy spot that A3TV had opened, and remained anchored there for years, where the channel rerun the series in loop numerous times. The series would later expand to air two daily episodes, at 2 and 2:30pm seven days a week. A3TV usually aired new episodes once the US had completed the series, and new episodes would usually arrive in time for the Summer months, where they would air in the Monday to Friday 2pm slot. Once these were screened, A3TV would go back to reruns. The Fresh Prince double slot on A3TV usually attracted 2.5 million viewers and the series usually ranked in the Daily Top 10 of Spanish TV.
After many years of rerunning on Antena3TV, El principe de Bel Air would find a second life on Spain's regional channels, where it again went on to enjoy multiple looped reruns. In 2010, Antena3TV recovered the series and placed it in the schedules of its spin off youth skewed digital channel Antena Neox where it continues to air.
In Italy, the show originally aired on Italia Uno between 1992 and 1999 and was known as Willy, il Principe di Bel Air. The Mediaset network, particularly Italia Uno, is renowned for airing dubbed syndicated shows from the U.S. (see Italia Uno for the full list of shows). The show occasionally broadcasts reruns of these series in the morning block. Fresh Prince also briefly aired on one of Italia Uno's sister channels, Boing, a channel marketed at children and teenagers.
In Pakistan, the show originally aired during the late 90s on the channel called NTM at the time. It was aired during the 7 pm time slot and at the time was a massive success.
In Brazil, it is broadcast by SBT (Brazilian Television System) under the title of "Um Maluco no Pedaço" (A Crazy In The Area). The series took the afternoon weekday comedy spot, usually airing after El Chapulin Colorado for most part of early 2000s, when the show time slot was taken by That's So Raven, followed immediately by My Wife and Kids. In late 2000s, El Chapulin was replaced with Raven, Diff'rent Strokes took Raven's original slot and My Wife and Kids remained closing the comedy spot, before the Mexican Soap Operas slot started. In early 2010s, That's So Raven still opens the comedy spot, followed by The Fresh Prince and My Wife and Kids (all three shows time slots were expanded to air two daily episodes). The show, as well as its theme song, became a cult classic in Brazil, even though the english lyrics were incomprehensible for the largest part of its portuguese-speaking audience. The show is also broadcast by Nickelodeon Brazil, usually at Nick@Nite.
Warner Home Video has released the complete series, seasons 1-6 on DVD in Region 1. Seasons 1-4 have been released in regions 2 & 4. Seasons 5-6 have been released in Region 2 in Germany. The shows and DVD menus are in English; only the DVD packaging is in German.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release dates|
|Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|The Complete First Season||25||February 8, 2005||February 21, 2005||April 13, 2005|
|The Complete Second Season||24||October 11, 2005||November 21, 2005||March 1, 2006|
|The Complete Third Season||24||February 14, 2006||June 26, 2006||August 9, 2006|
|The Complete Fourth Season||26||August 8, 2006||January 22, 2007||December 6, 2006|
|The Complete Fifth Season||25||May 11, 2010||June 18, 2010||TBA|
|The Complete Sixth Season||24||April 19, 2011||May 6, 2011||TBA|
Awards and nominations
|ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards:|
|Top TV Series||Won||Quincy Jones
DJ Jazzy Jeff
|Outstanding Individual Achievement in Lighting Direction for a Comedy Series||Nominated||Art Busch||1996|
|Golden Globe Awards:|
|Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series – Comedy/Musical||Nominated||Will Smith||1994|
|Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series – Comedy/Musical||Nominated||Will Smith||1993|
|Outstanding Comedy Series||Nominated||1997|
|Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||Won||Alfonso Ribeiro||1996|
|Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||Nominated||Will Smith||1997|
|Outstanding Youth Actor/Actress||Won||Tatyana M. Ali||1997|
|Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated||Nia Long||1996|
|Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated||Daphne Maxwell Reid||1996|
|Kids' Choice Awards:|
|Favorite Television Actor||Nominated||Will Smith||1996|
|Favorite Television Show||Nominated||1996|
|Favorite TV Actress||Won||Tatyana M. Ali||1996|
|NCLR Bravo Awards:|
|Outstanding Television Series Actor in a Crossover Role||Nominated||Alfonso Ribeiro||1996|
|TP de Oro:|
|Best Foreign Series (Mejor Serie Extranjera)||Nominated||1996|
|Best Foreign Series (Mejor Serie Extranjera)||Won||1994|
|TV Land Awards:|
|Best Broadcast Butler||Nominated||Joseph Marcell||2004|
|Favorite "Fish Out of Water"||Nominated||Will Smith||2004|
|Young Artist Awards:|
|Best Performance by an Actor Under Ten – Television||Won||Ross Bagley||1996|
|Best Performance by an Actor Under Ten in a TV Series||Won||Ross Bagley||1995|
|Best Youth Comedienne||Nominated||Tatyana M. Ali||1994|
|Best Young Actor Guest Starring in a Television Series||Nominated||Larenz Tate||1993|
|Best Young Actor Guest Starring or Recurring Role in a TV Series||Nominated||Tevin Campbell||1992|
|Best New Family Television Comedy Series||Won||1991|
|Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Comedy TV Series||Won||Tatyana M. Ali||1997|
- "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air". TV.com. CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 2, 2014.
- Coker, Cheo Hodari (May 20, 1996). "Good Night, 'Prince'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 2, 2014.
- Smith, Will (December 2, 2007). Interview with Steve Kroft. 60 Minutes. CBS. Missing or empty
|title=(help) Video link
- Rohter, Larry (September 17, 1990). "'Fresh Prince of Bel Air' Puts Rap in Mainstream". The New York Times. Retrieved January 2, 2014.
- Wolf, Matt (February 11, 1991). "'Fresh Prince' makes Marcell changed man". Kentucky New Era. Associated Press. Retrieved January 2, 2014.
- , The location of the Banks Mansion.
- "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air DVD news: Announcement for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete 6th Season". TVShowsOnDVD.com. May 25, 2007. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
- "Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, The: The Complete First Season DVD @ DVD Empire". Dvdempire.com. February 8, 2005. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
- "The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air - The Complete First Series DVD: Amazon.co.uk: Will Smith, James Avery, Janet Hubert-Whitten, Alfonso Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons, Tatyana M. Ali, Joseph Marcell: DVD". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
- "Buy Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, The - The Complete 1st Season (5 Disc Set) @ EzyDVD". Ezydvd.com.au. April 27, 2005. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
- "Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, The: The Complete Second Season DVD @ DVD Empire". Dvdempire.com. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
- "The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air - The Complete Second Series DVD: Amazon.co.uk: Will Smith, James Avery, Janet Hubert-Whitten, Alfonso Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons, Tatyana M. Ali, Joseph Marcell, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Ellen Falcon: DVD". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
- "Buy Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, The - The Complete 2nd Season (4 Disc Set) @ EzyDVD". Ezydvd.com.au. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
- "Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, The: The Complete Third Season DVD @ DVD Empire". Dvdempire.com. February 14, 2006. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
- "The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air - The Complete Third Season DVD: Amazon.co.uk: Will Smith, James Avery, Karyn Parsons, Alfonso Ribeiro, Tatyana M. Ali, Joseph Marcell: DVD". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
- "Buy Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, The - The Complete 3rd Season (4 Disc Set) @ EzyDVD". Ezydvd.com.au. August 9, 2006. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
- "Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, The: The Complete Fourth Season DVD @ DVD Empire". Dvdempire.com. August 8, 2006. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
- "The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air - Series 4 [DVD]: Amazon.co.uk: Will Smith: DVD". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
- "Buy Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, The - The Complete 4th Season (4 Disc Set) @ EzyDVD". Ezydvd.com.au. December 6, 2006. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
- "Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, The: The Complete Fifth Season DVD @ DVD Empire". Dvdempire.com. November 5, 2010. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
- "Awards for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air". Imdb.com. Retrieved August 7, 2008.
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- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air at epguides.com
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