Peacock’s ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ Brings in Its Fourth Showrunner
The dramatic update of Will Smith’s beloved Fresh Prince of Bel-Air has changed showrunners again. This time, Carla Banks-Waddles has been promoted from co-exec producer to exec producer and showrunner for Bel-Air‘s second season as part of her overall deal with studio Universal Television. T.J. Brady (Army Women, Lie to me ) will be her replacements. She will also be at the helm Bel-Air , , which counts Smith and original series creators Andy Borowitz as its exec producers. Brady and Newson left after creative differences with Universal Television producers and Peacock.
Banks-Waddles, who penned episode seven, becomes Bel-Air‘s fourth — you read that right — showrunner. After a multi-outlet bidding battle, the series landed at Peacock with an order for two seasons straight-to-series.
Sources said Brady and Newson took over season one after Collins — and his replacement, Diane Houston (Empire) — mutually parted ways with producers including Smith, Quincy Jones and Benny Medina. Sources at the time told THR that Peacock was looking for a broad-skewing network-style show, while Collins wanted to deliver an edgy, premium series. Collins resigned in December 2020. Houston joined the show and departed last season after some rewrites. Brady and Newson were brought in last year under Houston and Malcolm Spellman (Falcon and Winter Soldier)and steered season one as their first showrunning job.
Collins was originally set to co-write the scripts with Morgan Cooper. Smith was intrigued by the four-minute clip that went viral in March 2019. Cooper, a Fresh Prince superfan, directed the trailer that reimagined and interpreted the series as a drama. Cooper continues to exec producer alongside Banks-Waddles. Smith, Spellman. Smith, Terence Carter. James Lassiter. Miguel Melendez. Medina, Quincy Jones. Brady.
Bel Air was a major play for Peacock. It beat out the likes HBO Max and Netflix to acquire the rights to the series. The show’s first season failed to become Peacock’s signature series and currently has a lackluster 65 percent score among critics and ho-hum 72 percent rating with viewers on Rotten Tomatoes.
Banks-Waddles is repped by Gersh and the Shuman Company as well as Felker Toczek. She also counts NBC’s Good Girls and The Soul Man among her credits.
The return date for season 2 of Bel-Air has not yet been established.
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