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'Marlon': Essence Atkins stars as Marlon Wayans' ex on new NBC sitcom

NBC premieres a new family sitcom “Marlon” starring comedian Marlon Wayans.

Wayans stars with frequent co-star Essence Atkins in this multi-camera series as a divorced couple learning how to co-exist as co-parents. "Marlon" is described as "A loving (but immature) father with a larger-than-life personality is committed to co-parenting his two kids with his very-together ex-wife but for Marlon family really always does come first - even if he's the biggest kid of all."

That description could be about the real life Marlon himself. "Marlon" is the kind of family sitcom that the actor/comedian has dreamed of since his days of watching "The Honeymooners" and "I Love Lucy" as a kid.

For Atkins who plays Marlon’s ex-wife, working on the show is a familiar. She and Wayans have worked on multiple projects together throughout the years and loves working in this format.

"The great thing about this show is that we do it as scripted, and then they let us play," Atkins told reporters at a recent press event. "So we definitely get to be incredibly improvisational, which is wonderful for us as actors.  We have an amazingly supportive executive producer team that allows us to play and create and welcomes our input. So it's a great time."

For Atkins, the actress sees herself in young actors, Amir O'Neil and Notlim Taylor, who play her and Marlon's children on the show and the actress offers sage advice to them.

"I was really fortunate," Atkins says. "I had great support around me as I grew up in this business.  I mean, I started at 15, and here we are 30 years later.  And I unapologetically don't mind saying that that would make me 45.  But these guys, they have amazing talent within itself.  And all of us as a group, we are extremely protective of each other and extremely supportive of each other.  But we give them the freedom to flourish and to  we don't think of them as talking heads, because they're not.  They have their own sense of comedy and timing and humor, and we give them an opportunity to also come to the table with their own take on things and their own improvisation.  So I think the best gift that we can offer them, as well as each other, is liberty to fail.  If it doesn't work, we'll try it again, and we'll keep going until it does."

Catch "Marlon" starring Marlon Wayans and Essence Atkins on Wednesday, August 16 on NBC.