‘Martin’ Prequel Drama Series In Works From Martin Lawrence, Bob Yari & WonderHill Studios

EXCLUSIVE: The Martin cast reunion was a highlight of this year’s Emmy Awards, tapping into nostalgia to bring the 90s sitcom back into the pop culture conversation. The beloved comedy is now looking for a more permanent return with Young Martin, a new hourlong drama series from Martin Lawrence and his production company, RunTelDat, in collaboration with Marvin Peart’s WonderHill Studios.

The hourlong Young Martin is contemporary origin story centering on Martin Payne, a charismatic teenager navigating the complexities of transitioning from youth to adulthood. It reimagines the character played by Lawrence on Martin, paying homage to the original show, which aired on Fox from 1992-97.

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Young Martin‘s dramatic bent resembles the route another signature 1990s sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, starring Lawrence’s Bad Boys co-lead Will Smith, took with Bel-Air, executive produced by Smith.

Executive producing Young Martin are Lawrence, Rae Proctor, Robert Lawrence and Stacy Lyles from RunTelDat, with Bob Yari, David McPherson, Rosa Peart, Greg Martin for WonderHill Studios. (Yari and Peart, who originally launched WonderHill together, continue to collaborate on outstanding projects, including Young Martin, after parting ways several months ago.)

Set in modern-day Detroit, Young Martin follows Martin Payne, a spirited teenager whose journey is characterized by ambition, humor, and a genuine compassion for those around him. The show will explore themes of family, friendship and life while the young Payne balances on the tightrope between adolescence and adulthood. Martin’s quick wit and magnetic personality draw him into high-stakes situations, where he must confront obstacles, emotions, and ultimately, find his path to success.

Young Martin marks WonderHill Studios’ inaugural TV project and is part of the company’s commitment to cultural authenticity.

“Out of all the hit shows during the 90’s, there was only one Martin — a show that defined culture and positivity. Martin reflected a real group of friends from our community that wound up on TV screens all over the world,” WonderHill CEO Marvin Peart said. “I respected and revered Martin Lawrence for creating Martin Payne and what he did for African Americans on television in front and behind the camera. In many ways, he influenced my path in the entertainment industry and it’s an honor to partner with Martin and his younger self and share him with the next generation of fans.”

During its five-season run, Martin, which Lawrence co-created with John Bowman and Topper Carew, earned People’s Choice and NAACP Image awards. The series’ comeback started in 2022 with a highly rated 30th anniversary reunion special on BET+, which featured performances by Snoop Dogg and Bryan McKnight. It continued at the recent 75th Emmy Awards where Martin was recognized alongside other groundbreaking TV series, including All in the Family, Cheers, The Sopranos, Ally McBeal, Grey’s Anatomy, and Game of Thrones with a set recreation and a cast reunion.

Lawrence is currently back on the big screen in Bad Boys: Ride or Die, whose $361 million worldwide box-office to date has pushed the long-running movie franchise past the $1.2 billion mark globally. He is repped by UTA, Artists First and Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman.

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