It followed her to the fictional Hillman College. Bonet’s pregnancy created a problem for the show. She had no serious onscreen romance, and NBC was not about to make a Cosby kid an unwed mother. This turned out to be a blessing, as Denise was arguably the show’s least interesting character.
Other cast members including Kadeem Hardison and Jasmine Guy flourished in Bonet’s absence. A young Marisa Tomei even spent time at Hillman. The show became a hit and lasted six seasons. It dealt with thorny issues such as HIV and presented positive images of African-American culture. As the show’s director Debbie Allen noted, there’s still a lack of those images on TV. She tweeted that she would love to revisit the old crew. Publications including Essence picked up on her comments, and now the debate has started. Dallas just made a successful return to TV after a lengthy absence. It features the older characters, but uses their relationships with the younger cast to drive stories.
It would be interesting to see what happened at Hillman. Probably at least one student has become a professor at the college by now. Other characters could send their kids there, then the show could introduce some new students. That show could absolutely find an audience, especially in African-American homes. During its peak, A Different World was the no. 2 show among African-American families.