On “The Famous Jett Jackson,” the late Lee Thompson Young played the title character, a charismatic actor who relocates from Los Angeles back to Wilsted, North Carolina. Jett’s parents are divorced, so he lives with his father, Sheriff Wood Jackson (Gordon Greene), and his grandmother, Miz Coretta (Montrose Hagins). His show-within-a-show, “Silverstone,” is filmed right in Jett’s hometown, so he can keep up with his studies and hang out with his best friends, J.B. (Ryan Sommers Baum) and Kayla (Kerry Duff). Early episodes are sometimes light on the drama, focused on everyday problems or mysteries in Jett’s “normal” life. Jett and his friends uncover a couple of crooks who steal and resell tractors; they catch a classmate who is selling tabloid photos of Jett; Jett gives Shakespeare a try; and he fends off a fan who wins a contest to spend a day with him.
As Broadway performer Patrick Clanton notes in his excellent history of the series on YouTube, later stories wove in important issues, including racism, ageism, and eating disorders. Rising stars of the time appeared throughout the show’s run, including Andy Lawrence, Britney Spears, Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child, Rachel McAdams, and Usher.
“The Famous Jett Jackson” is currently owned by WildBrain and does not stream on Disney+, to the sadness and frustration of the show’s fans. Young’s sister said in a statement to What’s on Disney Plus that the actor’s loved ones are “fine with the show being streamed,” and the Lee Thompson Young Foundation has looked into the matter. Here’s hoping that the Disney Channel classic can reach a wider audience soon.