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Debbie Allen Wants To Reboot ‘A Different World’

Debbie Allen Wants To Reboot 'A Different World'

If the below tweets she posted to her Twitter followers are any indication…

1. Hey Guys. Go get the new @EBONYMag we talk about A Different World 25 years later it’s the one with @AKILPRODUCTIONS SPARKLE on the cover

2. @EBONYMag article about Different World made me really want to get back in the saddle with a that show…

3. We need to revisit this wonder arena and get my crew back. Whitley, Dwayne, Ron, Kim, Jaleesa, Mr. Gaines, Freddie.

4. We need to recap this ground breaking series that is so missed in TV today..can I get an AMEN #adifferentworld

5. I get enough amen’s maybe @BillCosby , Marcy, and Tom will let us put hillman back on the block…. #adifferentworld

My first question is, if everyone comes back, would they play themselves? And if so, given that they are all 2 decades older, surely they won’t all still be students at Hillman College. Maybe they’ll be professors now, and there’ll be a whole new cast of young’uns to play the students.

I’m just guessing… I know nothing.

She tagged Bill Cosby in that last tweet; I checked his Twitter timeline and didn’t see a reply… at least, non yet. He hasn’t been on Twitter much lately. 

Although I’d think she’d have his direct phone line.

So… a Different World reboot… I think this is all wishful thinking on Debbie Allen’s part, but, ya never know! And now that you know she’s interested in the idea, don’t be too shocked if we announce eventually that it’s actually happening.

But what do you folks think about the idea?

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I wouldn't mind as long as it finally got the old show out on DVD. However, I hate when people try to remake or reboot something. It's never as good as the original, but makes you pine for the old.




Zimmerman should be in first episode as a security guard!


I really like the idea of making it Degrassi like. Have the show center on a child of someone from the original and go from there. If Zoe Kravitz wasn't into becoming a movie star I could have seen her as the lead-playing Denise's daughter(and then fading after a season or two and having a more interesting young actor become the focus). But I think we should stop rebooting things and use the past as an inspiration for new and fresh tv shows. A show like this will not survive on network television, but it cannot be on BET either. And as someone said television has become all sexed up so a tv show about being proud to be black and seeking to be educated while dealing with social issues may not be of interest to many.


It's an interesting concept and one that's sorely needed in the times we live in but I question how the quality could be maintained and the writing would definitely need to be relevant to today's world. As one commenter stated, maybe it should be a project undertaken by TV One. On the other hand, maybe a reunion movie would be the best option and just let the show be remembered for the times it represented.

Whitney Barber

maybe it would do well the times have changed however of course the concept and content has to change just a little to appeal to my generation and that will be interesting…while still holding on to the original shows integrity and grace and appeal to young people


I think they need new students. Something like "A Different World: The New Millenium Students" sounds better. New students and maybe the old crew could all be employed at Hillman now. Also, make sure there is always gonna be a cameo role for Lisa Bonet who played Denise Huxtable. I mean after all, the whole show got started when she left home to attend her parents alma mater.


Funny thing, as my son was preparing for his senior year of high school last fall I was wishing there was an update version of this show. I am sure we could see some old faces bringing their kids back to Hillman or even a few now professors at the school.

I wonder how many high school students thought of engineering as a career path because of Dwayne Wayne or had the same epiphany as Whitley when she realized her degree in Art History didn't mean anything if she didn't go another year and take classes in Business to become an art buyer for a corporation.

(chanting) Bring. It. Back! Bring. It. Back! Bring.It.Back!


We are in need of more scripted tv. In todays, work of media you have to compromise your integrity to get hight ratings. A re-boot can sometimes be cheesy. So if she is going to do it … it needs to be done Right! I think a nice gesture would be a made for tv-movie.

david da

Maaaaan as BAD as tv is lately (at least for us) I wouldn't care HOW old mr. gaines was/is. That CREW put on one of THEEEEEE BEST TV SHOWS OF ALL TIME!……OF ALL TIME! It was a DIFFERENT TIME, but still….I'd take it in a HEART BEAT over ANYTHING we've got right now….ANYTHING!

Curtis Caesar John

Look below and see Rashid's and Just Sayin's comments to know that with the right formulas this could definitely work. Yes, while a show like Degrassi still works because it's not produced on a major American network, should a TBS or TNT or better yet (!) TV One back the show, I could see it being something. Heck, keep the production values down and shoot in Canada too. Who cares, just give us some good, high value shows. Um, just skip season 1.

Miles Ellison

Just leave it alone. Even if it was good, no one would watch it. And there's a pretty good chance that it won't be allowed to be good. What audiences consider entertaining now is 180 degrees from what was considered entertaining back then.


"Please, I dont wanna see Dwayne Wayne get his prostate checked, or Ron Get his foot chopped off due to Diabetes" DROP THE MIC …those are the most relevant and poignant words in this thread (imo). Listen, call it re-boot, remake — or don't you shake, we can't "re" anything about A Different World. As EBD said "THAT WAS THEN – BUT NOW? Back then — there was 0ver 28 contributing writers. Back then — there was over 14 different directors over the run of the series. Heck, we can stop right there, can't we? There's no way those skillful individuals can be "rebooted", nor duplicated. Cont… BACK THEN — the series was fortunate to be in a time-slot that followed The Cosbys. BACK THEN — the audience didn't watch the series because of the mentioned "social" issues. They watched because they were entertained by what was presented to them each week. Writing aside, each character (actor) brought their own brilliance, nuances and fans to the mix. Again, as EBD implied, you can't re-make Jasmin Guy 136 episodes!, Kadeem Hardison, Cree Summer, Darryl M. Bell, Charnelle Brown and Dawn Lewis. THEY — and their interactions with each other is why we tuned in. Heck, is there another Sinbad, Jada Pinkett or Glynn Turman? They were an important piece of 130 episodes! Can we remake or re-boot their presence? NOT-NOPE-NO WAY, FORGET ABOUT IT. Silly isn't it? Look, watching TV is an experience not a "thought", keeping that in mind it a fool's errand to try to re-capture, re-boot, duplicate and/or re-make the emotions we felt while watching A Different World. Well, that is, unless one can "re-make" all the ingredients/elements that lead to our laughter, tears, joys, excitement, bewilderment, suspense, hope, enlightenment etc, that ADW gave us, it's indeed a very slippery slope. Where are the same writers (skills), same directors (skills)? Seriously, the DRESS and MUSIC of that day and the issues of THAT DAY, combined with each actor and how all of them played off each other) those are the thangs that captured our hearts and cannot be duplicated. In my best Les McCann… DON'T… Don't put your hands on it, you better let it lay!


All good points I agree with you top to bottom -no debate from me!


PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE…. ( IN my very best James Brown impersonation) DON'T!
A Diff'rent World worked then. I was working on my B.A. at a historically black college when the show was on and at the time was very incredibly relevant , fresh, and innovative. THAT WAS THEN- BUT NOW, I would like to see something CURRENT, Relevant, Fresh, and Innovative…

Hollywood and ever increasingly Black Hollywood keeps retooling stuff we've seen before. I don't want to see continuations of stories when there are so many fresh and untapped ideas that can't make it to the surface because "we" wanna remake; SPARKLE, HOUSEPARTY, and IN LIVING COLOR. Please, I dont wanna see Dwayne Wayne get his prostate checked, or Ron Get his foot chopped off due to Diabetes, or learn that Julissa and The Sergeant's son finally came out of the closet, or shudder the thought watch Whitley go through early-menopause.

There are new fresh writers, new fresh ideas, new approaches to telling stories… Thank God for SHONDA RIMES AND SCANDAL! It gives me hope! What I'd like to see is the following;

BREAKING BAD – with Black People (Thank you Giancarlo Esposito)
BURN NOTICE – With Black People
BOSS- With Black People
BOARDWALK EMPIRE- with Black People
TWO AND A HALF MEN- With Black People
WILFRED- With Black People
MODERN FAMILY- With Black People
LOUIE- With a Black Comic
SUBURBIA- With Black People.

Please, Please, Please… (Now this is my Michael Jackson, Imitating James Brown) LET THIS SHOW REMAIN A CLASSIC and only bring the cast back together on Oprah's Network for an OWN Special or on E! True Hollywood Story…

Somethings should die so they can be remembered for how great they were when they were alive!


Well here's what would be and should covered by the show, first I vote yes to a Reboot, but remember HBCU are all in deep trouble, cause the roving mindset from a lot of parents are "I ain't sending my Kids to no Black school" So the plot line could be the attempt to keep HBCU'S alive, also Racism is making a strong and intense comeback through out the country, by the time this show make to air i wouldn't be surprised to hear of Klan rallies in one of these cities soon, of course the plot lines mentioned through out are superb. also touch on hot button issues although stupid to me like Black versus Latino debate always fired up here on S&A and then there are the sagging pants thing, the no snitching thing, there are lots of issues in our community to be walked over in a show like that!


One of my favorite shows of all time! I asked Jasmine Guy this very question last year during the Q & A after one of Kenny Leon's plays. Needless to say, she gave me attitude. She ultimately said that it would be up to Mr. Cosby and Viacom (I believe).

The show was great, though. They could do it again with a new cast. It just needs to be done right.

D.C. Kirkwood

I think its a great idea but I say no. Lisa Bonet and Kadeem were the main draw for the show. You could really look at it as a spin off of the Cosby show. It was a totally different time and era that can't be replicated. Ever. The music industry during that time, the style of dress, Kadeem and his sunglasses.LMAO. There was also a great emphasis on getting a college education. Unfortunately, the value behind education and the fact that TV is so sexual nowadays I don't see an audience for this type of show that will keep it on the air for the long run. The Game is a perfect example, it will start out positive but before it's through it will probably turn into a ghetto/hoodrat mess like the Game to keep up ratings.

Just Sayin'

Rasid, makes and excellent point, in his Degrassi model! He's right that you have to continue to build the story and focus on the new characters, only allowing for smaller storylines that connect them back to the old. That show has now been on for 25 years and it never gets old. Of course, the other huge difference is the neophyte actors who a) actually play their ages as opposed to being 20 and 30-somthings pretending to be teens, and seem to really be into their craft — not just enamored with themselves for being on television. And b) Off camera, you don't read about those kids, in the tabloids, being involved in out-of-control behavior (ala Brittany, Lindsay, Miley, et al.) …

Adam Scott Thompson

As a fan, I say no. As a writer, I say there's a whole established universe there with potential for new, topical stories. As a producer, I say why not use the "brand loyalty" of the original audience — nostalgia, nostalgia! — to float the show until it attracts a fresher, younger demographic?




First, this wouldn't be a reboot. This would be a continuation, like Dallas, 90210, and Degrassi. But let's focus on Degrassi for a moment.

What makes Degrassi a successful continuation of the original Degrassi franchise is that it sticks to the original formula: take neophyte child actors who are the same ages as their characters and put them in realistic, dramatic situations. Although the first few seasons involved Joey (and his stepson), Caitlyn, Snake (as a teacher), and Spike (as mother to Emma), the writers and producers smartly placed all the action on the young cast, with Emma as the central figure.

Degrassi has now established itself as far more successful commercially and artistically than the original, and has re-invented itself several times over the past decade it's been back on the air.

If I were the writers/producers, I'd probably take a divorced Dwayne and Whitley's child and make her a reluctant sophomore transfer to Hillman from a Swarthmore-like campus. She'd adjust to a new school, a new financial reality, and to being at an HBCU.

The only necessary cameos would be during Homecoming.

Anyway, hope it all works out.


It was a great show. And there really hasn't been anything like it since it went off the air. Could it be done again in the current television landscape? I would never rule out anything but it sure seems as if the more time that has passed, the more likely that things can/will be done wrong. The writing would have to be as SHARP as it was once known for and the casting would have to come CORRECT. And unlike the original incarnation of the show, where because it was new, it was given time to find its way–any new version/reboot would have to come out of the blocks blazing because it would have already had a precedent and high expectations. I honestly don't know because generally new versions haven't been as good as the original but the type of show that A Different World was, is still needed. In other words, I have no idea what they should do (LOL).

Ian Evans

Yes It's TIME! Here Is My Take On a Reboot of The Series Especially If It Spans Out To A Show and Reunion. A HILLMAN HOMECOMING It's Time…

"A Different World" Hillman College 2012-2013":


It was a great show. Still it should be left alone. They should look to the show as inspiration for a new show. But don't taint it with the "Different World" name. After sitting through "Sparkle" with my wife I've had my fill of "reboots". Its like they are simply using the titles and names of the characters we know as promotional tools to get us to watch. Once we watch we realize they are lazily trying to create a new story without fully going through with it.

Debbie Allen should use her clout to create a new black sitcom altogether. It would be great if it centered around the university experience. Don't burden it with the "Different World" title. Be creative and create something completely new.


I hope she doesn't let her nostalgia ruin a decent reboot. We really don't need most of the cast on a full-time basis. Cameos would be nice, especially if they could also get Jada and a few from the later seasons.

In general though, we just need some network showing us more than sassy gay best friend, loud obnoxious black woman and the general coonery that we have been reduced to as of late.


I'm only a teenager but still to this day, when i watch "Different World" DVD's or reruns it actually does motivate me to want to go to college. It truly does. Hopefully it'll come back and encourage my peers to aspire to do the same.


I don't think the original cast is needed, beyond small cameos. Dwayne might still be a professor, but I think a fresh cast would have to carry the show.


YES! I've been hollering for a reboot for YEARS. With a great cast and writers, it would be perfect. So many experiences and social issues can be touched on now that times have changed in the two decades since the original show. If they can reboot 90210 and other shows, we should get a reboot about young Black people in college. I'd trust Debbie with a reboot since it's part of her legacy. This is something I'd love to see.


…Only if she can bring on a great mix of writers: think Mara Brock Akil, Issa Rae, Dennis Dortch, and Donald Glover. No cheesy TP sh*t. I love the idea of seeing our favorite characters but also highlighting a new generation of talent. I immediately thought of the cast of "Dear White People".


******* QUESTION: When was the last time a "black" sitcom aired on one of the four majors? As far as I can recall, there was "Brothers" in 2009 and prior to that, The Hughleys (1998-2002). It would appear that the majors are DONE with "black" sitcoms. I wonder if BC's legacy and the fact that DW was a massive hit for so long carry any weight.


A Different World came at a different time when black people had a proud sense of education and self and cared more about social themes and political issues than Kim Kardashian and Niki Minaj. There was still an understanding of right and wrong and a moral obligation to advance as a culture and people. All the thing that would make a show tank today as Single Ladies go into a third season. Don't reboot Debbie, bad move. SMH.


Excellent idea! Of course, it won't be exactly like the old show but that's a good thing. I also think they should approach some of these "new" black networks (Aspire, Bounce, etc…) with the idea. I don't really have faith that broadcast networks (NBC, ABC, CBS) would stick behind the project and let it grow like they do with other shows. Besides, they're not really into "minority" programs anymore. I recall reading that HBCU enrollment dramatically INCREASED while this show was on. It's definitely time to get back to that folks…seriously.


I realize that 90210, Dallas, Melrose Place, Superman, etc etc have all gotten reboots, but I don't know. The old gutsy president of NBC isn't in place ( I dislike the new guy, and loved Tartakoff), advertisers are more in control now about casting than they were in the '50's, and I can only imagine how many white students would HAVE to be added to make it palatable (not inherently a bad thing, but c'mon the 100% black student population made it unique). Dwayne Wayne will be dating Maggie (Marisa Tomei's character), Freddie will be with..who knows, a Swedish exchange student? Maybe a show like this is neccessary to show black people that unity is beneficial, but until I saw casting, I think I'd rather watch re-runs.




LAWD JESUM' PEACE!!! Don't play with me S&A… DON'T… PLAY!!!

Dankwa Brooks

Words cannot express how happy I would be it this came back—only if it's done the right way, with the right network support. Dr. Cosby already named Ms. Allen as his successor on the series (as far as day to day show running) so I can't see how he would have a problem with it if she put it together right. I don't think anyone wants to see a cheap looking version of the Hillman campus and sensational storylines. Even though I think the lightning has escaped from that bottle I wish her luck!

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