Chuck Lorre keeps TV viewers laughing
Who says the sitcom is dead? With concurrent comedies 'Two and a Half Men' and 'The Big Bang Theory,' the sitcom veteran proves there's life in the old genre yet.
Many observers declared the sitcom dead when "Everybody Loves Raymond" signed off the air in 2005 and creator Phil Rosenthal joked, in turn, that it was the end of laughter everywhere.
But somebody forgot to tell Chuck Lorre, whose "Two and a Half Men" eased into "Raymond's" spot as the No. 1 comedy and has remained there since. By then, Lorre had earned his place as the most successful sitcom producer of his time, but that wasn't enough.
With the future of the genre in question -- even powerhouses Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton couldn't sustain a show on Fox -- Lorre set out to create another sitcom that would not only survive but thrive. "I never bought into that," Lorre said. " 'Men' was very much alive when those declarations were made. It can't be dead here and alive there. There's no reason to think the genre doesn't work."
Last month, CBS and Warner Bros. signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Lorre to produce three more seasons of "Men" and two more of " The Big Bang Theory," a solid hit in its sophomore season. While CBS is currently the only network airing sitcoms, its rivals, citing Lorre's shows as motivation, are giving the format another shot with 19 sitcoms in the works potentially for fall.
-- Maria Elena Fernandez
Photo: Ringo H.W. Chiu / For the Times