Sundance Channel enlists famous faculty for “Dream School”

When celebrities talk, will troubled students listen?

That’s the intriguing question behind Sundance Channel’s inspirational new series Dream School, where 15 teens ages 17-18 who have either been expelled or dropped out of school get another shot at scholastics. Their teachers will be luminaries in their respective fields, and a few are fixtures in TV and movies.

Actor David Arquette is the homeroom leader and drama teacher, and will appear in all six episodes. Other famous faces include director Oliver Stone, journalist Soledad O’Brien, finance guru Suze Orman, conservationist Jeff Corwin and musician Swizz Beatz. In addition, there’s Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to go to space, ocean explorer Fabien Cousteau and civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Louis Jackson Sr.

The series is adapted from a British show from chef Jamie Oliver. The U.S. version is being shepherded by none other than rapper/actor Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson.

But will all the star power be enough to help turn lives around? Either way, Sundance Channel is betting that the journey will make for captivating viewing.

Dream School is a passionate attempt by those who have made it to use their resources, creativity and skills to turn around our students’ lives,” says Sarah Barnett, Sundance Channel president. “It’s not easy, and the tension that ensues is both dramatic and, at times, heart-wrenching. In the end, what we hope for with this show is a true second chance for the students, something our viewers will definitely be rooting for.”

Dream School premieres at 10pm Oct. 7 on Sundance Channel.

Oliver Stone instructs students in Sundance Channel's "Dream School."
Oliver Stone instructs students in Sundance Channel’s “Dream School.”

Photo: Credit: JC Dhien