What's Happening Now!!
||This article may be written from a fan's point of view, rather than a neutral point of view. (January 2015)|
|What's Happening Now!!|
|Created by||Eric Monte|
|Based on||Cooley High|
|Written by||Eric Monte|
|Directed by||Michael Schultz|
Fred Berry (1985–1986)
Reina King (1985–1986)
Martin Lawrence (1987–1988)
Ken Sagoes (1987–1988)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||66|
|Executive producer(s)||Michael S. Baser
Michael S. Baser
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Columbia Pictures Television
|Distributor||Columbia Pictures Television (1985–1988)
Coca-Cola Telecommunications (1987–1988)
LBS Communications, Inc.
Columbia Pictures Television (1988–1996)
Columbia TriStar Television (1996–2002)
Sony Pictures Television (2002–Present)
|Original release||September 7, 1985– March 26, 1988|
|Preceded by||What's Happening!!|
The show ran in syndication from 1985 to 1988. Like the previous series, What's Happening Now!! is loosely based on the motion picture Cooley High (written by Eric Monte and directed by Michael Schultz).
In the series, Roger "Raj" Thomas (played by Ernest Thomas) has become a fledgling writer. He bought half of the restaurant Rob's Place (renamed Rob's) and was running the business with Shirley (Shirley Hemphill), making money for himself and his new wife Nadine (Anne-Marie Johnson), who was a social worker. Dwayne (Haywood Nelson) has become a computer programmer, and Rerun (Fred Berry) a used-car salesman. Raj and Nadine live in Raj's childhood home while Rerun and Dwayne share an apartment.
The antics and sarcastic one-liners were reminiscent of the first series. Raj's little sister Dee (Danielle Spencer) showed up on a sporadic basis in guest spots, with the explanation that she had gone away to college. Raj and Nadine also became foster parents to a young girl named Carolyn, played by Reina King (sister of actress Regina King), who displayed the sass that was seen in Dee when she was younger.
By the second season, both Fred Berry and Reina King left the series. The writers wrote Carolyn out of the series by saying she had moved in with an aunt she didn't know she had. Rerun, however, simply disappeared and was not mentioned again. Fred Berry had asked for more money than the rest of the cast (believing he was the reason people tuned in) and quit when the producers would not give in. Berry's widow, Essie Berry, told Urbanite magazine at Georgia State University that their unwillingness to pay Fred Berry his due in both shows led to their early cancellations.
Third (final) season
During the third season, the series introduced a pair of characters that harkened back to the original incarnation of What's Happening!!. Maurice Warfield (Martin Lawrence) was a teenager who spent his afternoons as a busboy at Rob's under the supervision of Shirley and Raj while his best friend Darryl (Ken Sagoes) hung out with him. Together, they had many misadventures not unlike the original trio of Raj, Dwayne, and Rerun.
Production and reruns
The original What's Happening!! was a modest success in its network run on ABC, despite some serious production problems. But repeats of the show's 65 episodes did reasonably well in syndication. In some markets, the show was perceived to appeal to both children and adults in a similar way to The Brady Bunch and Happy Days. The show was often aired in transitional hours where stations would go from cartoons to evening sitcoms. In a few markets the show actually had higher ratings in syndication than during the network run. Thus, a revival of the show was produced entitled What's Happening Now!.
The show was produced by and was distributed during its original run by Columbia Pictures Television and LBS Communications the first two seasons and then by Coca-Cola Telecommunications in its final season. Columbia's successor, Sony Pictures Television, now has sole distribution rights.
Shortly after the series ended, all 66 episodes were added to the previous show's syndication package, continuing on many local stations across the United States in an on-again, off-again manner until 2009.
BET reran both series from September 20, 1993 to October 27, 1995.
TV Land, which reran the previous series during the 2005–2006 television season, aired 30 select episodes during the summer of 2007.
On February 21, 2014, a marathon of What's Happening Now!! aired on Centric.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date|
|The Complete First Season||22||June 12, 2007|