Kids Incorporated was a children’s television program that ran from the mid-80s to the early 90s. Filmed in Hollywood, California, the program aired on the Disney Channel and featured musical performances in almost every episode.
What happened to the show’s cast? Where are they now in 2023? Let’s find out.
The Show’s Beginnings
The show’s original pilot was filmed and produced in 1983. The creators Gary Biller and Thomas W. Lynch subsequently shopped the series to several networks but no one picked it up. It wasn’t until Metro-Goldwyn Mayer joined the producing team that it aired in syndication in conjunction with Lynch/Biller Productions and K-Tel Entertainment.
The show’s airing, however, was determined by the local TV stations. For example, KTRV aired the series on Tuesdays, and then Saturday nights, while KPTV in Portland, Oregon, aired it at 10:30 A.M. on Saturdays, and New York City’s WNBC aired it on Sundays at 1:00 P.M. before moving it to the mornings. Due to the shuffling of time slots, the show’s ratings were ultimately not as high as they could have been.
The show’s original cast members, Renee Sands, Marta Marrero, Jerry Sharell, Rahsaan Patterson, and Stacy Ferguson- which ranged in age from eight to the mid-teens-were joined by five backup dancers. Their characters were also named the actors and actresses who played them. For example, Renee Sands and Stacy Ferguson’s characters were named Renee and Stacy respectively.
Interestingly enough, however, the pilot from 1983 never made it to television. Rather, it was released on VHS a couple of years later as “Kids Incorporated: The Beginning.”
Since Rahsaan joined the show after the pilot was shown, the producers had to add a new storyline to the series to add his character. He was ultimately introduced as “The Kid” (his real name wasn’t revealed to the audiences until the fourth season of the show), a new kid in town whose shy demeanor prevented him from auditioning for the band. Unlike the rest of the cast members, however, his scenes were filmed in 1984 and were later edited with the original footage.
In terms of the show’s plot, it revolved around a group of kids who performed in a band called Kids Incorporated (thus the name of the show). Like many teens, however, they struggled with a variety of issues from peer pressure to child abuse. Still, they performed regularly at a local music club called the Palace (though the “a” was burnt out in the sign).
The Music On the Show
Music was a big part of the show as it centered around the band’s musical performances (five songs across a variety of genres were featured in every episode). Given the context of the show, most of the numbers were performed on stage at The Palace, though some were also used to illustrate a character’s conflict or internal monologue.
While all five singers shared vocal responsibilities, each cast member was also given a chance to perform solo throughout the season. Aside from cover songs from the 1950s to the 1990s (some notable mentions include “ABC” by The Jackson Five, “Baby, I’m A Star” by Price, “Beat It” by Michael Jackson, and “Dynamite” by Jermaine Jackson) the show also featured original tracks that were written specifically for the series, such as those composed by Craig Sharmat, Andrew R. Powell, and Michael Cruz.
Since the show was geared toward young children, songs with questionable content were edited out and replaced with more appropriate counterparts. For example, both “Hip Hop Hooray” by Naughty By Nature and “Jump Around” by House of Pain had lyrics that were edited out for the show.
Occasionally, however, songs with objectable lyrics were performed as written. For instance, the show featured Billy Idol’s “Dancing with Myself”, Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”, Taylor Dayne’s “Prove Your Love”, and Fleetwood Mac’s “Seven Wonders.”
Not only that but the show also featured a number of guest stars during its run including Kathy Johnson, Billy Blanks Gwen Verdon, John Franklin, Scott Wolf, R.J. Williams, and Brian Robbins.
Hiatuses and Continuations
Due to low ratings, Kids Incorporated was ultimately canceled in May 1986. Reruns aired on CBN shortly afterward.
To everyone’s surprise, however, the reruns garnered positive ratings. As a result, it was given a second chance after the Disney Channel acquired the show’s rights. Not only did the network resume production of the series, but they also kept the original cast. After several months of filming, new episodes began airing on television in the fall of 1986. Since Disney’s buyout package included the entire syndicated run, the production team had to make several edits to remove commercial outros.
In the end, the series continued for three more years. After the sixth season, which wrapped up in 1990, the series was put on hiatus, during which many of the cast members “aged out” or moved to other projects. By the time the show resumed its production in 1991, only two of the original cast members remained- Jennifer Love Hewitt and Kenny Ford.
Disney’s lease with MGM later expired in 1993. Coupled with budget cuts, the show was put on hiatus once again in 1993. By then, only ten episodes of the ninth season had been filmed. Reruns, however, continued to air on the Disney Channel. In fact, it’s the longest-running series in the network’s history.
What’s the Kids Incorporated Cast Doing Now in 2023 – Recent Updates
Kids Incorporated officially wrapped up in 1994. Since then, nearly three decades have passed. Where are the original cast members now?
What Happened to Renee Sands?
Renee Sands formed a girl group called Wild Orchid with Kids Incorporated co-star Stacy Ferguson, and her friend, Stefanie, Ridel, in 1990. Their self-titled debut album, Wild Orchid, was released through RCA Records on March 23, 1997. The group’s most successful album, it contained eleven songs including “Talk to Me”, “At Night I Pray”, “Love Will Wait”, “You Don’t Own Me”, “I Won’t Play the Fool”, and “Supernatural”.
Not only was the album nominated for two Billboard Music Awards, but it also received two Soul Train Lady of Soul Award nominations as well as an American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Artist.
In the end, the group performed together until 2003. Their fourth and final album, Hypnotic, was released on January 15, 2003.
Since then, Sands has performed several songs including Shrek’s “Far Far Away Idol” as Princess Fiona. Not only that but she also appeared in the Disney film Camp Rock and performed the song “Love From Afraid” for the holiday film Just Friends.
More recently, she performed the theme song for the children’s TV series The Chicken Squad, which premiered on Disney Junior in 2021.
What Happened to Stacy Ferguson?
Ferguson was a member of the Wild Orchid before joining the hip hop group the Blacked Eyed Peas in 2002. Not long afterward, they released the single “Where is the Love?”, which proved to be a major hit, topping the music charts in more than a dozen different countries.
Over the next several years, the group released a number of albums including Monkey Business, The E.N.D., and The Beginning. In 2018, however, it was announced that Ferguson had left the group after making sporadic appearances since the group’s return from hiatus.
Since then, she has appeared in a number of television shows including Fanboy & Chum Chum, Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil, Fashion Police, The Launch, The Four: Battle for Stardom, and The Talk. Not only that but she also made a number of appearances in the popular sitcom The Cleveland Show.
In 2017, she also released a solo album titled Double Dutchess, which came with thirteen tracks including “Save It Til Morning”, “You Already Know”, “Hungry”, “Life Goes On”, and “Love Is Blind.” It was accompanied by a film titled, Double Dutchess: Seeing Double, which included visuals for all of the songs.
That same year, it was announced that she and her ex-husband Josh Duhamel had separated. Their divorce was later finalized in November 2019. The two have one son together, who was born in 2013.
What Happened to Marta Marrero?
After leaving the show, she released her debut album Martika in 1988, which spawned the hit song “Toy Soldiers”. Two additional singles also reached the top 40 including “I Feel the Earth Move”, and “More Than You Know”. By 1990, the album had received platinum certification in the UK.
Several years later, she released her second solo album Martika’s Kitchen, in 1991. While it only received minor airplay in the United States, it peaked at number nine in Australia and number 15 in the UK. It also gave rise to the songs “Martika’s Kitchen”, “Coloured Kisses”, and “Temptation.”
Due to burnout, however, she eventually left the public eye in 1992. In the end, it wasn’t until the early 2000s that she returned, performing backing vocals for other artists.
More recently in 2016, she was also part of the Total 80s Tour of Australia, which also featured Paul Kekakis, Stacey Q, Men Without Hats, and Berlin.
What Happened to Mario Lopez?
Lopez played a couple of small roles in The Golden Girls and the film Colors before landing a lead role in the popular sitcom Save by The Bell in 1989. He ultimately stayed on the show for four years, until 1993. He then reprised his role as A.C. Slater in the sequels Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas and Saved by the Bell: The New Class.
In 1997, he also starred in the television film Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story, where he played the role of Olympic diver Greg Louganis. Not only that but he joined the cast of Pacific Blue for two seasons before it was canceled by the network. He then went on to guest star in The Bad Girl’s Guide, Eye, and Resurrection Blvd.
Outside of acting, he has also hosted a number of television programs including Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade, The X Factor, Candy Crush, Access Hollywood, and Miss Universe 2020. In 2022, he also made a guest appearance as himself in an episode of Family Guy.
That same year, it was announced that he is working on reviving the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo.
What Happened to Jennifer Love Hewitt?
In 1995, Hewitt landed her breakthrough role in the teen drama Party of Five. She also joined the cast of the horror film I Know What You Did Last Summer as well as its sequel, which propelled her into stardom.
Some of her other notable film credits include The Tuexdo, Heartbreakers, and Garfield. She also starred in the CBS drama Ghost Whisperer from 2005 to 2010 and in the Lifetime drama series The Client List. From 2014 to 2015, she also played the role of Special Agent Kate Callahan in the crime drama Criminal Minds.
Since 2018, she has also been playing Maddie Buckley in the Fox series 9-1-1. In 2010, she also received a Golden Globe Award nomination for her role in the film The Client List.
And more recently in 2022, she appeared as herself in the documentary film Betty White: A Celebration.
For a period in the 90s and 2000s, she also released music as a recording artist. Her most recent album, BareNaked, was released through Jive Records, in October 2022. It gave rise to several hit songs including “Can I Go Now”, “Me and Bobby McGee”, and “BareNaked”.
What Happened to Brian Friedman?
A trained dancer, Friedman went on to work with a number of artists including Celine Dion, Patti LaBelle, Michael Jackson, and Salt N Pepa. He has also choreographed and directed many music videos including Britney Spear’s “Toxic”, “I’m a Slave 4 U”, and “Boys”. Not only that but he has also worked as a choreographer for the popular television series Will & Grace.
At one point, he also appeared on the show So You Think You Can Dance? as a choreographer and judge. After two seasons, he was offered a spot in Simon Cowell’s Grease Is the World alongside David Gest, David Ian, and Sinitta.
From there, he became the judge for the UK version of The X Factor. He ultimately stayed until 2010, after which he joined the U.S. version of the show alongside Paula Abdul, L.A. Reid, Simon Cowell, and Nicole Scherzinger.
He then returned to The X Factor UK in 2012 for the ninth season alongside judges Tulisa Contostavlos and Gary Barlow.
In 2015, he also competed in the reality competition series I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, where he finished in eleventh place.
What Happened to Brian Poth?
After the show, Poth moved to Los Angeles and attended Loyola Marymount University, where he studied writing and film production. Not long after graduating, he landed a guest-starring role in the hit drama series Six Feet Under.
In 2003, he also landed a lead role in the popular procedural series CSI: Miami, as Tyler Jensen, a multimedia lab tech. From there, he made his directorial debut in the musical comedy short Gleeclipse starring Linda Cardellini. He also worked on the sitcom Family Style, which he co-wrote with Guy Shalem.
What Happened to Shanice?
Shanice landed a recording deal with A&M Records and released her debut album, Discovery, in 1987. It spawned two top-ten hits- “No 1/2 Steppin”, and “(Baby Tell Me) Can You Dance”
Three years later, she released her second album Inner Child, which produced “I Love Your Smile”, which charted within the top ten in 22 countries.
After Inner Child, she continued to record albums, including Shanice, 21…Ways to Grow, and Every Woman Dreams, the latter of which came out in 2006. She also contributed to a number of film soundtracks including those for The Meteor Man and Boomerang. Not only that but she has also contributed background vocals for a number of artists. For example, she can be heard in “Bedtime” by Usher and Toni Braxton’s “Un-Break My Heart.”
In 2019, she came back to the public eye after releasing the new single “He Won’t. She also sang the theme song for Mecha Builders, a Sesame Street spinoff, in 2022.
What Happened to Rahsaan Patterson?
After leaving the show, Patterson performed as a backup vocalist for several artists including fellow Kids Incorporated co-star Martika. He also contributed to Colour Club’s eponymous album and wrote for several other artists including Brandy and Tevin Campbell.
In 1995, he landed a recording deal with MCA Records. Two years later, he released his solo debut album, which featured collaborations with Jamey Jaz, Keith Crouch, and Ira Schikman. Not only did it reach number 48 on the Top R&B Albums Chart, but it also spawned two singles- “Where You Are” and “Stop By.” While the album failed to attract a large audience, it did earn him a loyal following across the country.
His second album, Love in Stereo, was released in 1999 and performed better than his debut work.
Since then, Patterson has released five additional studio albums, including Heroes & Gods, which came out in 2019. His first album in eight years, it entered the US Independent Albums chart at number 29. Praised by critics, it contained 13 tracks including “Don’t You Know That”, “Catch Me When I Fall”, “Wonderful Star”, “Sweet Memories”, and “Heroes and Gods.”