The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
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|The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air|
|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|
|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 (1994–present)|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Original release||September 10, 1990– May 20, 1996|
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is an American 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 series ran for six seasons and aired 148 episodes.
In December 1989, NBC approached Will Smith, a popular rapper during the late 1980s. The pilot episode began taping on May 1, 1990. Season 1 first aired in September 1990, and ended in May 1991. The series finale was taped on Thursday, March 21, 1996.
The theme song "Yo Home to Bel Air" was written and performed by Smith under his stage name, 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.
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. While playing basketball, Will misses a shot and the ball hits a group of people, causing a confrontation that frightens his mother, who sends him to live with his aunt and uncle in the opulent neighborhood of Bel Air, Los Angeles.
Will's working-class background ends up clashing in various humorous ways with the upper class world of the Banks family – Will's uncle Phil and aunt Vivian and their children, Will's cousins: Hilary, Carlton, and Ashley.
Cast and characters
- Will Smith as Will Smith
- James Avery as Philip Banks
- Janet Hubert-Whitten (Season 1–3) and Daphne Maxwell Reid (Season 4–6) as Vivian Banks
- Alfonso Ribeiro as Carlton Banks
- Karyn Parsons as Hilary Banks
- Tatyana M. Ali as Ashley Banks
- Joseph Marcell as Geoffrey Butler
- Ross Bagley as Nicholas "Nicky" Banks (Seasons 5 & 6)
Major supporting characters
- DJ Jazzy Jeff as Jazz
- Vernee Watson-Johnson as Viola "Vy" Smith
- Jenifer Lewis as Helen Smith (recurring)
- Nia Long as Lisa Wilkes (Season 5)
- Tyra Banks as Jacqueline "Jackie" Ames (Season 4)
- John Amos as Fred Wilkes (Lisa's father) (Season 5)
Crossovers and other appearances
During the fall 1991–1992 season, NBC gained two hit television shows to anchor their Monday night lineup (Blossom aired immediately after The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air). To gain popularity between the two shows, Will Smith appeared in the Blossom episode "I'm with the Band" as himself under his rap stage name, The Fresh Prince. That same season, Karyn Parsons appeared in the Blossom episode "Wake Up Little Suzy" as Hilary Banks. Parsons also appeared in the Patti LaBelle sitcom, Out All Night as Hilary.
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 (Stanton was played by Ribeiro). 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 produced by NBC Productions in association with The Stuffed Dog Company and Quincy Jones Entertainment (later Quincy Jones-David Salzman Entertainment in 1993). After the show was released to syndication in 1994, the series has been distributed by Warner Bros. Television, 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 to 6. TBS continues to air the series today, early in the morning. Reruns also aired on WPIX-TV back to back weeknights at 6 pm & 6:30 pm EST from 1994 until 2000, and as a weekday basis at 5 pm from 2000 to 2005, sometimes on weekends until 2007. But, the series was still rerunning on The WB's affiliation WPIX-TV until 2006.
While moving The WB to Nick at Nite, it was airing to 2006-2009 and moved to Disney XD.
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 to 3 are aired, mainly because those episodes are more appropriate for young viewers and does not contain as many mature themes, sexual content and strong language as later episodes. But in August 2010, Disney XD stopped airing the show.
ABC Family (now called Freeform) 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. On September 29, 2014, Disney/ABC rights to the show expired. Viacom Media Networks got the series back.
In October 2014, Viacom Media Networks also gave the series to BET, it also will air on Centric. It was previously aired on MTV's retro block. Also, the series reruns on VH1. On November 2, 2015, the series started airing on the Family Channel in Canada. On January 1, 2017, the series was added to Netflix in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Warner Home Video has released the complete series, seasons 1 to 6 on DVD in Region 1. Seasons 1 to 4 have been released in Regions 2 and 4. Seasons 5 to 6 have been released in Region 2 in Germany, and in the complete series boxset in the United Kingdom. The episodes 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||Janet Hubert-Whitten||1991|
|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|
On August 13, 2015, it was reported that a reboot of the show was in development by Overbrook Entertainment, with Will Smith serving as a producer. While the original aired on NBC, a network for the reboot has yet to be determined. In August 2016, during a promotional interview with the E! television network, for his then upcoming film Suicide Squad, Smith had denied that a reboot was in development, saying that it would happen "...pretty close to when Hell freezes over."
- "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.
- 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.
- Cerone, Daniel. "Rap's Prince Soon to Be TV Royalty?". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
- "The Hollywood Minute". CNN. Cable News Network Inc. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
- "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.
- Lovett, Jamie (August 13, 2015). "Will Smith Producing A Fresh Prince Of Bel Air Reboot". Comicbook.com. Retrieved August 13, 2015.
- ""Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" Reboot in the Works - thenewbenjamin". thenewbenjamin.
- "Will Smith Reboots Fresh Prince of Bel Air". PopCultureFan.com. August 13, 2015. Retrieved August 13, 2015.
- Loughrey, Clarisse (August 2, 2016). "Will Smith says Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot will happen when 'hell freezes over'". The Independent. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
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