Martin Lawrence Returning To Television For First Time In Nearly 20 Years

Martin Lawrence is back on television for the first time in nearly two decades, starring in a new FX comedy Partners alongside Kelsey Grammer.

The actor hasn’t played a feature role on a television series since his breakthrough show Martin went off the air in 1997. While he’s been plenty busy during that time, appearing in both movies and touring as a comedian, Lawrence had not worked in television outside of some scattered appearances.

Now he will have the chance to cement his small screen comeback. Partners has already been ordered for 10 episodes, with an arrangement to trigger a 90-episode order if it meet a designated ratings threshold in the first 10.

FX is selling the series as having a bit of an Odd Couple vibe:

In Partners, Grammer and Lawrence play two Chicago lawyers from vastly different backgrounds who unexpectedly meet in court as they each face a personal crisis. Marcus Jackson (Lawrence) is a kind-hearted community activist going through a heartbreaking divorce when he meets Allen Braddock (Grammer), an elitist lawyer who has just been fired from his father’s firm. Brought together by fate and desperation, they develop a partnership and friendship, forcing each other to find the balance between the ethical and the unscrupulous in both their professional and personal lives.

After making a name in comedic shows Cheers and Frasier, Kelsey Grammer is coming off a stint on the political drama Boss. In Partners, he and Martin Lawrence will appear alongside regulars including Telma Hopkins, Rory O’Malley, McKaley Miller, Edi Patterson and Danièle Watts.

The show could be part of a resurgence for Martin Lawrence. Earlier this year, Sony announced plans to move forward with Bad Boys 3, the continuation of the popular series with Lawrence and Will Smith.

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer said the movie was held back a bit by some poor timing.

“It’s so funny because we’ll get Sony real excited to make the movie, and then Will [Smith] is off doing two movies,” he said. “And then, Will will come back and be real excited about it, and Sony will say, ‘Well, maybe it’s not the time for this.’ And then, Ride Along came out and was a big hit, and now they’re all excited to make the movie, but Will is off doing something else. It’s just trying to get everybody together to make it. But, we’re working on the script. We have a lot of faith and hope that we’ll do it.”

There is no date yet for Bad Boys 3 production, but fans itching to see Martin Lawrence return to television can catch Partners when it debuts August 4 at 9 pm.