CBS is developing a pair of sitcoms for comedian Martin Lawrence, with an eye toward shooting one of them as a pilot.
Bernie Mac creator and The Daily Show contributor Larry Wilmore is behind one of the shows, while the other is from Rules of Engagement creator Tom Hertz and Adam Sandler's Happy Madison production company.
In the Wilmore script, Lawrence would play a single man who becomes (along with his sister) a foster parent to several children. Hertz's script would star Lawrence as a family man trying to keep his kids grounded while facing off with his wealthy in-laws.
A decision on which project (if either) will go forward will be made in the coming weeks, after everyone involved — including Lawrence, of course — has time to digest the two scripts.
Such a bake-off is not unprecedented; last year, Tim Allen mulled several scripts developed with him in mind before he settled on the sitcom that would become Last Man Standing.
Like Allen (his Wild Hogs co-star, coincidentally), Lawrence is mulling a return to TV after focusing mostly on features in recent years. The actor signed a deal with CBS and its sister CBS TV Studios last fall to develop a comedy project. Sony, where Hertz and Happy Madison are based, is also involved with the Hertz comedy.
Lawrence, who got his start on the syndicated comedy What's Happening Now, starred in the hit Fox comedy Martin for five years. Since then, his feature career has included Bad Boys and Big Momma's House (and their sequels), as well as National Security and Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins. Lawrence didn't completely leave TV, however: He was behind the Starz standup comedy series Martin Lawrence Presents 1st Amendment Standup.
Wilmore's other credits include The Office and The PJs, while Hertz also worked on Spin City.