Starz Unearths Martin Lawrence, Bunnies

On Friday (Sept. 22), Starz announced its first state of original TV series programming led by Martin Lawrence and some surly puppets.

Starz is set to begin production on a trio of original offerings, including "Martin Lawrence's 1st Amendment Stand-Up," "The Bronx Bunny" and "Head Case."

"This is an exciting time for Starz Entertainment to announce the production of our first of three original series," says Stephan Shelanski, senior vice president, programming. "Our goal with originals is to compliment our movie strategy and to expand our programming offerings on all our platforms. We plan to create unique and unconventional shows to achieve this goal."

Not surprisingly, "Martin Lawrence's 1st Amendment Stand-Up" will be a comedy showcase for young comic talent. Starz promises that the comics will also be fresh. Funky fresh? The funkiest. Doug Williams will host. Starz says that Lawrence "adds his star power and irreverent, unpredictable approach to humor," but the network makes no mention as to whether or not that will include even an occasional on-camera role.

"The Bronx Bunny" -- not to be confused with Vincent Gallo's "Brown Bunny" -- is based on a British format focusing on a pair of foul-mouthed puppets who run a talk show. There's the star-struck title character and his sidekick Teddy T, a politically incorrect panda. Guests will include Howie Mandel, Nick Cannon and Joely Fisher.

"Head Case" focuses on therapist-to-the-stars Elizabeth Goode and stars Alexandra Wentworth ("In Living Color"). Wentworth also co-created the show.

All three shows are expected to premiere in 2007.

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