March 28, 2013 3:39pm PT by Lacey Rose
Comedy Vets Tapped to Run Kelsey Grammer-Martin Lawrence Series (Exclusive)
The oddball comedy pairing of Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence has found its leaders.
The Lionsgate-produced show will be written and executive produced by Bob Boyett and Robert Horn, comedy veterans whose half-hour credits collectively include Family Matters, Perfect Strangers, Full House, Living Single and Designing Women. The hiring of two seasoned writer-producers for the 10/90 show follows similar moves on Anger Management and the untitled George Lopez project, which lured The Drew Carey Show's Bruce Helford and Roseanne's Matt Williams as showrunners.
The news comes after Lionsgate execs and the project's stars met with several writer-producers who were brought in to pitch ideas. The project, which will launch with a 10-episode straight-to-series order poised to trigger a back 90 episodes, has yet to be pitched to networks.
"We can confirm that Bob Boyett and Robert Horn have been selected as candidates for the proposed Martin Lawrence-Kelsey Grammer multicam comedy that we are developing for the 10/90 model in partnership with Debmar-Mercury," Lionsgate TV Group president Kevin Beggs said in a statement. "We are thrilled that they responded to the hilarious pairing of comedic legends and look forward to concluding a deal with them and starting the development process immediately."
Unlike Anger Management and Lionsgate's Lopez comedy, the Lawrence-Grammer project began as a pairing with neither a title nor a concept. "But the idea of Kelsey and Martin together is inherently funny and draws comparisons to great pairings in the past, whether it's The Odd Couple or Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder," Beggs noted in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in early March.
Debmar co-presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein initially identified Martin as somebody who was interesting for the 10/90 model and were concluding a deal with him. Around the same time, Grammer's Starz drama Boss, another Lionsgate effort, was canceled, leaving Lionsgate TV COO Sandra Stern to suggest pairing the two in a genre for which Grammer has long been known.
"We had those conversations with each, and it was great because they're so respectful of each other," recalled Beggs in that early March interview. "Each artist basically said, 'Do you think they'd work with me?’ It was an incredibly humble point of view for both of these men, who to me are titans of TV."
Email: Lacey.Rose@THR.com; Twitter: @LaceyVRose