Written by | Ray Cornelius 

#UPFRONT was in the building this week for a private press dinner hosted by NBC and featuring TV and film star—Marlon Wayans. The beloved comedian was in town promoting his new sitcom, “Marlon,” which debuts this coming Wednesday, August 16 at 9 and 9:30 p.m.

The 30-minute series features him as an attentive — somewhat juvenile — single father who is co-parenting his two young children with his mature and very put-together ex-wife, Ashley, played by Essence Atkins. While his fatherly advice may often be misguided, and he sometimes lets his own outsized personality and unpredictable Internet superstardom get in his way, for Marlon, family always comes first.

The show also features comedic writer Diallo Riddle as his unemployed best friend, Stevie and comedic actress Bresha Webb as Ashley’s no-nonsense BFF, Yvette. Child actors Notlim Taylor and Amir O’Neil round out the cast as Marlon’s teenage daughter, Marley and his young son, Zack.

For Wayans, the new TV show allows him to tell the stories he wants to since he has retired from doing movie parodies and is focusing on his own brand.

“These last five to six years, I’ve just been working on Marlon. I gave so many contributions to Wayans that now I feel like I’m growing into Marlon. It’s gonna be some ups and downs, trials and tribulations but the victory is in the fact that everyday I go to work; I learn something new and I get better. So I’m looking at my work and I am seeing a transition and I like what I’m doing now. I like the fact that I said, ‘I’m done with parody.’ I like that I’m doing stuff that has good characters and fun stories about parenting and something that is meaningful like a family staying together despite divorce,” said Wayans to #UPFRONT.

Wayans also knew that he wanted his “A Haunted House” co-star Essence Atkins to play his ex-wife in the series.  “Working with her has been wonderful. She gets my rhythm. She knows how to stay in the scene and stay grounded. She’s not trying to be me and never breaks, even though she wants to.”

Check out the “Marlon” trailer below + more photos from the STK Press dinner. You can catch my full interview with Marlon tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. on UPFRONT on WCLK 91.9. We’ll talk more about the Wayans legacy and a real-life situation that he put in the series.

“Marlon” debuts on NBC this Wednesday, August 16 at 9 & 9:30 p.m. EST.

Photo Credits: Paras Griffin / Getty Images for NBC