Jaleel White’s launching his web series “Fake It Til You Make It” on Hulu this week – the same week as “Family Matters: The Complete First Season” is coming out on DVD. No coincidence.
“That’s literally us turning a negative into a positive,” says White, still remembered as the amazingly irritating Steve Urkel 12 years after the long-running sitcom left the air. “We had no say in the release of the DVD – which is Warner Bros. prerogative. If it had been up to me, it would have had more bonus features. Anyway, when we found out it was coming out June 8, we pushed up our date.”
White, who’s done quite a bit of work behind the scenes as a writer and as a producer for such entities as the Disney Channel and Imagine Entertainment, is the star and creative force behind “Fake It Til You Make It” – about a former child star turned Hollywood image consultant. Wayne Brady and Debbie Allen are among the guest stars. He notes, “I wrote every episode, secured every location. Every fancy car you see, I got it. I bought lunch for the crew. Every article of clothing you see on my back – I shopped for it with my stylist.”
He’s partnering with Todd Pelligrino of ESPN’s “Mayne Street” online show, who directed the “Fake It” episodes. Having acted in a web series last year – “Road to the Altar” — White says he’s seeing the medium blow up into a force to be reckoned with right now. “I feel like I’ve been blessed to be able to become a part of it and see this change unfold. It’s funny though, a lot of the talent is happier to be involved than the talent reps at this point. We had to tell people, ‘Look, this may be the best pilot your client gets this year.’ We shot our web series during pilot season, and with some of the talent, we had to juggle our shooting schedule around their (ital.) auditions (end ital.) for network shows.”
White makes it clear he has no problem with people remembering Erkel. “I’m proud of that work. I’ll never run from it. You know, as much as you hear about child stars who go wrong, there are more of us who go on to constructive adult lives. Jodie Foster, Kurt Russell — you could go on and on.”