How ‘Bel-Air’ Went From a Fake YouTube Trailer to Peacock’s Biggest Bet

NBCU’s struggling streamer badly needs a hit and turns to a much darker take on Will Smith’s beloved ’90s sitcom

When Morgan Cooper learned that Will Smith wanted to talk to him in 2019, the young filmmaker thought he was going to get served with a legal notice. Less than 24 hours earlier, Cooper’s mock trailer, which flipped-turned Smith’s hit ’90s sitcom “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” into a gritty, premium cable drama, went viral on YouTube.

“It was under 24 hours before Will’s company Westbrook reached out and they said that they wanted to meet in Calabasas the next day,” Cooper told TheWrap. “I didn’t know if it was going to be a cease and desist or what it was going to be.”

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Tim Baysinger

TV reporter • • Twitter: @tim_bays