The creative shake-up at Peacock‘s Bel-Air continues, with the streamer announcing today that it has appointed Carla Banks-Waddles to take over the reins as the showrunner going forward as it prepares to premiere its second season, Variety reveals. Banks-Waddles becomes the fourth person to helm the show, following the recent departure of its second set of showrunners, TJ Brady and Rasheed Newson, due to creative differences.
Banks-Waddles is no stranger to the production team of the reboot show; she has been a part of the show since its inaugural season serving as writer and co-executive producer. She wrote episode 7 of the show’s debut season titled “Payback’s a B*tch” which was directed by Emmy nominee Ava Berkofsky, best known for her work on Issa Rae‘s Insecure. Banks-Waddles’ new promotion is packaged in her overall deal with Peacock’s parent company Universal Television, which produces the series. She will be juggling her new role with writing as well as executive producing the TV series, All That Age, starring Nicole Ari Parker (Boogie Nights), which is currently in pre-production. Her previous credits include The Soul Man, Half & Half, NBC’s Good Girls, Let’s Stay Together, and One Love.
The immediate outgoing showrunners Brady and Newson will, however, remain as part of the team as executive producers. The duo had boarded the reboot after the exit of Diane Houston due to differences with the brass. Peacock first named Chris Collins as the showrunner and co-writer right after it beat Netflix and HBO Max to the rights to the reboot and announced a two season order. However, Collins would depart in December 2020 due to his creative direction contrasting with what Peacock originally planned for the show. His replacement Houston also had differing opinions with the direction of the show’s writers, which eventually drove her to the exit door. The first season of Bel-Air would then premiere in February 2022 with first-time showrunners Brady and Newson.
The reboot was spearheaded by a viral creation by Morgan Cooper, a superfan of the original Will Smith-led sitcom. He had re-imagined the sitcom as a drama and Smith was immediately sold on the idea and brought him on as executive producer under his Westbrook Studios, co-owned with his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Despite mixed critical reception, the reboot became the most-watched original series on Peacock. In the reboot, Jabari Banks plays Will, the kid from West Philadelphia who moves in with his auntie and uncle in the posh Los Angeles neighborhood of Bel-Air. The cast also includes Adrian Holmes, Cassandra Freeman, Olly Sholotan, Coco Jones, Akira Akbar, Jimmy Akingbola, Jordan L. Jones, and Simone Joy Jones. Other producers on the show are Malcolm Spellman, Terence Carter, James Lassiter, Miguel Melendez, Benny Medina, Quincy Jones, Andy & Susan Borowitz, and Anthony Sparks.
Season 2 of Bel-Air is currently in production. All 10 episodes of the first season are available to stream on Peacock. The streamer is yet to reveal a premiere date for the second season.