NBCUniversal is betting on name recognition for three of its most high profile upcoming projects. Hoping to woo wary advertisers, the network is capitalizing on existing IP across its networks for shows that it hopes will be safe bets. The Will Smith-produced “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” spinoff “Bel-Air” has a two-season order from Peacock; Syfy and USA will host a “Chucky” series from original creator Don Mancini and starring Jennifer Tilly; and Peacock has given a series order to “Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol,” based on yet another bestseller by the “Da Vinci Code” scribe.
The three projects were a cornerstone of NBCUniversal’s annual upfront presentation, which featured appearances by Will Smith and Laverne Cox. Smith was thrilled to throw his support behind “Bel-Air,” a provocative twist on the Fresh Prince storyline that updates the story of a kid from West Philly who suddenly finds himself living the high life in Bel-Air. The hour-long series is based on a viral short film by Morgan Cooper that reimagined the popular ’90s sitcom as an edgier drama with real-life implications. The series hails from Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s Westbrook Studios and Universal Television.
“As long as Will Smith makes a cameo I’m cool with it,” Smith said during the upfront presentation.
Original stars Jennifer Tilly and voice actor Brad Dourif will return to “Chucky” as Mancini oversees the adaptation of his iconic horror franchise to the small screen. The show takes place in a small town thrown into chaos when a Chucky doll appears at a local yard sale around the same time that bodies start piling up. In case that wasn’t enough to stoke audience nostalgia, the Syfy/USA series also stars ’90s heartthrob Devon Sawa in an undisclosed role.
Peacock is hoping to have a binge-worthy thriller on its hands with “Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol,” based on the bestselling mystery novel, yes, “The Lost Symbol.” The series follows the early adventures of Brown’s frequent leading man, famed Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, as he must solve a series of deadly puzzles to save his kidnapped mentor and thwart a chilling global conspiracy. The “Langdon” series marks an expansion of the Dan Brown universe, which was popularized by Ron Howard’s trilogy of films starring Tom Hanks.
Watch the trailer for “Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol” below: