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You read that right. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air nearly got the axe two seasons early. Fans may remember that the Season 4 finale, “The Philadelphia Story,” ended with Will choosing to remain in his hometown of Philly following a recent visit with the Banks’. Ultimately, the show broke the fourth wall in the Season 5 premiere to bring him back to Bel-Air, but there’s more to the story.

By the end of Season 4 in 1994, ratings for new episodes were only slightly higher than those of reruns. So NBC execs thought it would make sense just to end the show and cash in on the syndication profits, since Fresh Prince was already just short of 100 episodes. However, fans wrote letters to NBC and Smith in the hopes that they would drop change course. NBC affiliates also voiced their hopes that the show would go on. And ultimately, Fresh Prince lived for two more seasons.

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