Tyler Perry is developing a drama prequel series about the early life of his iconic character Madea for Showtime, Variety has learned.
Showtime has ordered multiple scripts for the projects, which is titled “Mabel.” Per the official description of the project, long before she was the force of nature known as Madea she was a smart, fierce, irresistible, dangerous, crazy 20-something black woman named Mabel Simmons. When she moved to Atlanta in 1972 she set the city – and the world – on fire.
Perry and Tim Palen are the creators and executive producers of “Mabel,” with JaNeika James and JaSheika James attached to write and executive produce.
Perry is one of the most prolific and powerful creators working in entertainment today with a long list of film and TV projects to his name, both in front of and behind the camera. The Madea character originated onstage during his time as a playwright before he came to Hollywood. He has played the character in all nine Madea films to date, as well as in cameo appearances in the films “Meet the Browns” and “I Can Do Bad All by Myself.” The first film in the franchise was “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” in 2005, while the most recent was “A Madea Family Funeral” in 2019. To date, the nine Madea films have grossed over $500 million worldwide.
He is repped by WME and Ziffren Brittenham.
Twin sisters JaNeika and JaSheika James’ credits include the hit Fox series “Empire” as well as “True Story” and the upcoming reboot of “Gossip Girl.” JaSheika has also worked on “Revenge.” The sisters are currently developing the series “Philly Reign” at USA Network, on which Mary J. Blige is an executive producer.
They are repped by ICM, Industry Entertainment, and Hansen Jacobson.
Palen is the former CMO and president of marketing for Lionsgate, which has distributed many of Perry’s films. His company, Barnyard Projects, was founded in January 2019. The company currently has a first-look film deal with Lionsgate and is adapting the Erin Morgenstern novel “Night Circus” with the studio.