There was a time, in the early ’90s, when the Disney Channel sought to overload its young audience with two song and dance kids shows — The Mickey Mouse Club and the slightly more grown up Kids Incorporated. It was the Cola Wars of that time and both shows produced a ton of stars and a ton of warm memories about highly choreographed musical numbers.
Starting out as a syndicated program in 1984 before getting picked up by The Disney Channel two years later, Kids Incorporated mixed typical pre-teen schoolyard drama with song and dance routines set to pop music. With a structure that would later be partially adopted by hit shows like Glee, the main cast of rotating characters made up a band within the show, aptly named Kids Incorporated, who would both perform stage numbers, while also breaking into songs within the show’s story.
The show was eventually canceled in 1994, but it’s mark is undeniable… unless this is the first time you’ve thought about it since the last time you saw it and its glorious theme song.
Anyway, here’s what some of the kid stars have been up to since the late ’80s and early ’90s..
Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson – Stacy (1984-1989)
A renowned child actor who had the longest run on Kids Incorporated, Ferguson has been familiar with global superstardom for a while now, namely as a member of rap/pop supergroup The Black Eyed Peas. She has also continued her acting career, appearing in movies like Poseidon and Planet Terror, and lent her voice to cartoons such as Madagascar 2, Marmaduke, and The Cleveland Show.
Aside from her acting, she has a tremendous number of soundtrack credits, with her music appearing in work ranging from South Park, Jackass, Parks and Recreation, and The Great Gatsby.
Jennifer Love-Hewitt – Robin (1989-1991)
After appearing in Kids Incorporated, “Love” made the rounds on a number of popular TV shows, most notably playing Sarah Reeves in Fox’s Party of Five. Soon after, she’d find her big-screen breakout performance in 1997’s I Know What You Did Last Summer. Lately she’s been back on the small screen with starring roles on The Ghost Whisperer, The Client List, and Criminal Minds.
Hewitt stayed busy musically as well. After releasing her debut album in 1992, entitled “Love Songs,” she became a huge pop sensation… in Japan. After a string of follow-up albums, she had her biggest hit with “How Do I Deal,” which was on the soundtrack to I Know What You Did Last Summer. She (and Fergie) also sang backup vocals on the song “Toy Soldiers,” which ended up a hit for her Kids Incorporated co-star, Martika.
Mario Lopez – Dancer/Drummer (1985-1986)
After Kids Incorporated, Lopez went on to do a one-episode spot in The Golden Girls before being immortalized in the role of A.C. Slater on Saved By The Bell and Saved By The Bell: The College Years. Afterward, he went on to recurring roles on the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful and the cable drama Nip/Tuck. He also starred on the bike cop drama Pacific Blue and played Olympic diver Greg Louganis in a TV film. Lopez was also the runner-up on Dancing With The Stars in it’s third season back in 2006.
Staying busy, this year he had a cameo as himself in the pilot episode of superhero detective show Powers, starring Sharlto Copely, tussled with Deadpool, and briefly revived the character of A.C. Slater on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
Martika – Gloria (1984-1986)
Having gotten her start in movies like Annie and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, Martika (who was born Marta Merrero), would make appear occasionally in shows like Silver Spoons, as well as several episodes of Wiseguy, which co-starred Jonathan Banks, better known as Mike Ehrmantraut from Better Call Saul/Breaking Bad.
Off-screen, she released two successful Latin pop records, “Markita” in 1988, and “Markita’s Kitchen” in 1991. She’d find herself back in the spotlight in 2004, when she sang the chorus on Eminem’s song “Like Toy Soldiers,” which sampled from her song “Toy Soldiers.”
Eric Balfour – Eric (1991)
Balfour spent most of the 1990s doing guest spots on Step By Step, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and Boy Meets World. In 2001 he was first billed as Claire’s Meth Date in the pilot episode of HBO’s Six Feet Under. He’d quickly become a regular character, complete with the name Gabe Dimas. He’d later appear as a supporting character in numerous episodes of 24. He currently stars in SyFy’s fantasy crime drama Haven.
Brittany Murphy – Celeste (1992)
Following her appearance on Kids Incorporated, Murphy had starring roles in largely forgotten sitcoms like Almost Home and Drexell’s Class with Dabney Coleman. She also appeared on Party of Five along with Scott Wolf and Jennifer Love-Hewitt before hitting it big as Tai in 1995’s generation-defining Clueless. She went on to have a prolific movie career, appearing in indie favorites like Sidewalks of New York and Girl, Interrupted , as well as box-office hits like Sin City and Happy Feet as the voice of Gloria. Despite all this success, she’ll always be the voice of King of the Hill’s Luanne Platter to us. Sadly, Murphy passed away in 2009.
Scott Wolf – Billy/Bobby (1991)
After playing identical twins Billy & Bobby in one episode (which is preserved in the above awful picture and apparently nowhere else), Wolf’s career intertwined with several Kids Incorporated veterans, he played a waiter at The Max in Saved By The Bell with Mario Lopez, and co-starred in Party of Five with Jennifer Love-Hewitt. He also supplied the voice of The Scamp in Disney’s 2001 direct-to-video sequel to Lady and the Tramp and had starring roles in Everwood and the 2009 remake of the classic miniseries V. Most recently, he had a lengthy arc on NBC’s emergency room drama The Night Shift.
Rashaan Patterson – The Kid
Patterson has completely transitioned to music, releasing five albums, including 2011’s “Bleuphoria.” He’s also contributed tracks to multiple soundtracks.
Nicole Brown – Nicole
Brown went in a completely different direction than her peers at Kids INC, dropping out of acting in 1997 only to resurface six years later as an associate producer on Honey. More than a decade later, she’s still working behind the scenes, producing This is the End, Last Vegas, and the last two Harold and Kumar films.
Other Members of the Cast
It’s not always super easy to track down the current goings on (or recent pictures) of ex-child stars as many leave the spotlight entirely, and that’s certainly been the case with a few Kids Incorporated alums. With that said, though, we can tell you that Moosie Drier (Riley) has gone on to do voice work and direct on TV and the theater, Renee Sands provided the singing voice for Fiona in Shrek, Ryan Lambert is the lead singer and guitarist for a San Francisco indie rock band called Kill Moi, and Jerry Sharell works in public relations.
Anastasia Horne appeared on Buffy and Port Charles, but her resume seems to have stopped after 2002, as far as on-screen appearances go. Kenny Ford Jr. hadn’t acted since 1996 when he showed up in a direct-to-DVD Stacy Dash movie called House Arrest as a choir member in 2012. And Haylie Johnson went on to have recurring role on Doctor Quinn: Medicine Woman before her acting career wound down. Now, she goes by Haylie Lang, has four children, and occasionally joins her husband, noted guitar player Jonny Lang, on stage.