The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air– the small-screen TV sitcom that turned Will Smith into a big-screen movie star.
This September will mark the 25th anniversary of the pilot episode of the hit NBC sitcom – an episode that introduced Will Smith’s character to TV viewers, fans, and critics worldwide.
After six seasons and more than 140 episodes, many fans were left expecting more when it was confirmed that The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air would not be coming back for a seventh season.
The show was still a major hit for NBC during the sixth season, so the end of its original run had nothing to do with the ratings.
On the contrary, it was actually Will Smith’s decision. That is, of course, at least what the rising Hollywood star told the Los Angeles Times during a May 1996 interview.
“You become a family. On some weeks you spend more time with your TV family than you do with your real family. It’s hard to say goodbye to that atmosphere, but we felt like it was time. We’ve all grown as actors and as people, we had an incredibly talented cast, but the show is just limiting.”
Will Smith further compared working on the television series to working out in a gym, exercising, and training to prepare for the game like an athlete.
“TV is a good workout facility, where you get to work on your timing and other paces, but I think I’ve had enough time in the gym. Now I’m ready for the coach to put me in the game… motion pictures.”
To say that Will Smith became a Hollywood box-office star after saying good-bye to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air would be a major understatement.
Nearly 20 years after the series finale aired in May 1996, the 46-year-old actor still has one of the most impressive box-office resumes in Hollywood – especially thanks to such massive blockbuster hits as Independence Day, Ali, I, Robot, as well as the Bad Boys and Men in Black franchises.
— Kiss FM 97.7FM (@kissfm977) September 25, 2014
Will Smith as Muhammad Ali pic.twitter.com/annai0ALaQ
— Simply Jan (@jaaan_93) June 21, 2015
The popular 90s NBC sitcom introduced Will Smith to households around the world as more than just a Grammy-winning rapper. He became recognized as a multi-talented actor that was known for impeccable comic timing and physical comedy.
Smith even had a chance to work on his versatility as an actor during many of the emotionally-stirring episodes of the show – such as when he was let down yet again by his biological father.
— Rhythm 104.7 FM (@Rhythm1047FM) September 26, 2014
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, a reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is reportedly being developed. Although Will Smith will not be returning to the revived show in a leading role, his production team at Overbrook Entertainment will work on the project behind the scenes.
[Image Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images]