Perry's elderly African-American woman character Mabel "Madea" Earlene Simmons, based on his mother and aunt, started off on the stage, became a big-screen box office sensation and now she's becoming a TV series. Perry and producing partner Tim Palen created Mabel, a drama series telling the origin story of Madea. "The high-profile project, which has received a multiple-script order, tracks the origin story of the larger-than-life Madea character created and performed by Perry," reports Deadline's Nellie Andreeva. "It is written by JaNeika James and JaSheika James. Per Mabel’s official description, 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!" Perry playing Madea on stage starting in 1999 helped launch his Hollywood career. Diary of a Mad Black Woman, the first Madea film, was released in 2005. Twin sisters JaNeika and JaSheika James rose up the ranks from staff writer to supervising producer on Empire.