Behind-the-scenes TV icon Chuck Lorre, whose media empire already includes more hit TV comedies than he can easily keep track of, is mapping plans to expand into dramas and features. Deadline.com reports that the man behind “Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Mike & Molly” has just closed a new deal with Warner Bros. TV that makes room for Lorre to broaden his horizons.
The deal extends Lorre’s arrangement with the studio for a whopping four more years — reflecting his position as Warner Bros. TV’s biggest money maker. All three of the above-named comedies have been sold into syndication.
“The just-finalized new development and production deal includes a component for feature films Lorre would write, develop and/or direct for Warner Bros. Pictures,” Deadline reports. “But its main focus will remain television, where Lorre also plans to expand his turf with forays into drama series and longform projects in addition to developing new comedy shows. Lorre will be targeting both broadcast and cable networks with his new development through his Chuck Lorre Prods., Warner Bros. TV and Warner Horizon TV. Additionally, Lorre will continue as executive producer of ‘Two and a Half Men,’ ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and ‘Mike & Molly.’”
The pact will stretch Lorre’s stay at Warner Bros. to 16 years. “Lorre’s relationship with Warner Bros. TV President Peter Roth goes back even further, to 1995, when Roth, as president of 20th Century Fox TV, brought Lorre to that studio,” the report notes.
Said Lorre: “I’m proud to say that at 12 years and counting, my relationship with Warner Bros. is now officially longer than either of my marriages. With that in mind, it seemed appropriate to extend our little corporate love affair and try for ‘until death do us part.’ I’m also excited to have an opportunity to venture into the world of drama. After writing and producing sitcoms for 20 years, it’ll be a welcome relief to take all the violence, insanity and human suffering from behind the cameras and put it out front. And finally, the feature component of this new deal allows me to fulfill a lifelong ambition — to have a project in ‘turnaround.’”
The report adds: “Roth called Lorre ‘the quintessential comedy writer/producer of our time’ and ‘the most successful creator/showrunner of the last 25 years in this business.’ ‘Chuck has had a profound impact on Warner Bros. Television over the last 12 years, and we look forward to a long and successful future relationship,’ he added.”
Earlier in his career, Lorre had a hand in sitcoms including “Dharma & Greg,” “Grace Under Fire” and “Roseanne.”