Tyler Perry developing Madea prequel series for Showtime

The hour-long 'Mabel' explores the life of Perry's signature character that takes place in Atlanta during her raucous 20s.

Multi-hyphenate film mogul Tyler Perry is known for giving the streets what they want, and now, Perry is developing a prequel exploring the life of his signature character, Madea, that takes place during her raucous 20s. 

The potential series, titled Mabel, is being co-created by Perry and Tim Palen. Twin TV writers JaNeika and JaSheika James will handle its writing and executive produce, according to The Wrap. 

Tyler Perry is developing a prequel for Showtime that explores the life of his signature character, Madea, that takes place during her raucous 20s. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Showtime has reportedly ordered “multiple scripts” of the hour-long drama.

“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,” reads the official description of the series. 

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Madea, the character played by Perry who’s a legend in her own right, has appeared in nine of Perry’s films and was a fixture on his stage plays before he broke into Hollywood. She first appeared on screen in Perry’s 2005 Diary of a Mad Black Woman before going on to several eponymous films, the most recent being A Madea Family Funeral in 2019.

“Madea is a cross between my mother and my aunt and watching Eddie Murphy, the brilliant Eddie Murphy, do The Klumps. I thought — maybe I should try my hand at a female character. And that’s what came up. I thought I’d imitate the funniest person that I know, and she is exactly the PG version of my mother and my aunt, and I loved having an opportunity to pay homage to them,” Perry told NPR in 2012. 

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He described Madea as “strong, witty, loving, I mean, really, just like my mother used to be before she died.” 

Mabel will be the second TV project produced by Palen, who was the head of marketing at Lionsgate, the company that distributes Perry’s films. 

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The James sisters made a splash in Hollywood as writers on Empire. They are also contributing to the upcoming reboot of Gossip Girl

They recently released a memoir called Living Double, a book they titled as an homage to Yvette Lee Bowser’s signature series, Living Single, the show that inspired their Hollywood ambitions.

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