Don Cheadle’s “Fresh Prince” Character Was So Close To Getting His Own Spin-Off Show


On the podcast, People’s Party with Talib Kweli, veteran actor Don Cheadle discussed his brief stint on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air back in 1990, and even revealed that he almost had a spinoff show. His character, Ice Tray, only appeared in the fifth episode of the first season of the show, titled “Homeboy, Sweet Homeboy,” but the small role was significant for the show’s tone. “It humanized Fresh Prince of Bel Air in a lot of ways,” says host, Talib Kweli, who referred to Ice Tray as “the Rocket” of Fresh Prince, referring to Cheadle’s character in the 1988 crime drama, Colors,. “They were starting to deal with Will Smith’s character and what that family would look like in a real situation.” What Kweli seems to be getting at is that Ice Tray represented the lifestyle that Will’s character left behind in West Philadelphia when he moved in with his affluent family in Bel-Air. (8:35)

Telling the story of how he was dating Karyn Parsons at the time of his audition, who played Hilary Banks on Fresh Prince, Cheadle reveals that, halfway through the week when they shot the episode, the producers were already interested in creating a spin-off centred on Ice Tray. Unfortunately, the pilot that they shot never got picked up, and the name of the spin-off, In The House, was used for the mid-90s sitcom starring LL Cool J.


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