Tyler Perry’s Madea prequel, ‘Mabel,’ in the works with Showtime

Tyler Perry officially “retired” his Madea character from movie theaters with “A Madea Family Funeral” in 2019, but he never said explicitly the character was gone forever.
Tyler Perry officially “retired” his Madea character from movie theaters with “A Madea Family Funeral” in 2019, but he never said explicitly the character was gone forever.

Credit: Tyler Perry

Credit: Tyler Perry

Atlanta media mogul Tyler Perry is no longer writing everything he attaches his name to. He’s starting to delegate more.

For instance, he has agreed to create a Madea origin story series for Showtime called “Mabel” to be written by JaNeika James and JaSheika James, who are twin sisters. They previously worked as staff writers, then supervising producers on Fox’s “Empire.”

Perry and Tim Palen will be executive producers of “Mabel.”

The press release described the TV series’ concept: “Every great story has to start somewhere and every legend has a beginning. 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!”

Madea, in which Perry dresses up as an older Black woman, is loosely based on Perry’s mom and aunt. He debuted Madea in a stage play “I Can Do Bad All By Myself” in 2000 and featured her in 10 other plays through 2019.

The character became even bigger. Over a span of 14 years, Perry released 10 films that collectively earned more than $550 million in domestic box office gross. Perry officially “retired” his Madea character from movie theaters with “A Madea Family Funeral” in 2019, but he never said explicitly the character was gone forever.

As part of his long-term deal with ViacomCBS, Tyler Perry has created different series for BET, BET+ and Nickelodeon. This is his first foray with Showtime.

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