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Super-producer Chuck Lorre is the man behind some of the most-watched modern sitcoms, including Two and a Half Men, and The Big Bang Theory, both on CBS. This fall, he's got yet another show on the CBS line-up, a prequel to The Big Bang Theory called Young Sheldon. But this time, he's working with a single camera and no live studio audience, which for Lorre, is completely new territory. He tells us about the single camera learning curve and why he wanted to try something different with this particular show. And he talks about another new series -- the Kathy Bates pot comedy Disjointed. That show had him turning to Netflix after the broadcast networks caught a whiff of the scripts about weed and said "pass." Michael Schneider guest hosts.

Photo by Art Streiber

Chuck Lorre on 'Disjointed' and 'Young Sheldon' 20 MIN, 5 SEC

In the new Netflix sitcom Disjointed, Kathy Bates plays the namesake of Ruth’s Alternative Caring, a marijuana dispensary she owns and runs with her son Travis, played by Aaron Moten. He's a recent MBA grad, and with recreational weed now legal in California, he encourages Ruth and the store’s other "bud-tenders" to make a splash on social media. Travis sees franchise opportunities for the operation, but Ruth isn’t so sure.

Disjointed was co-created by our guest, Chuck Lorre -- the super-producer behind some of the most successful sitcoms of the past 25 years, including Grace Under Fire, Cybill, Dharma & Greg, and Two and a Half Men. Two of his shows are still on the air today -- The Big Bang Theory and Mom, both on CBS

Now, at age 64, Lorre is branching out. After decades working in broadcast, Disjointed’ is his first foray into the world of streaming.

In many ways, the show feels like a traditional three-camera sitcom, filmed in front of a studio audience. But since it’s Netflix, there’s a freedom of language and subject matter that you’d never get at a broadcast network.

Michael Schneider recently sat down with Lorre in his office on the Warner Brothers lot, and asked him how he found himself working on a pot comedy in the first place. Disjointed was originally conceived as a show for broadcast television, but after looking at a script, none of the networks wanted anything to do with it. Netflix, however, was totally game.

Lorre talks about the new-found freedom of finally having a character be able to curse (though not too much!), and designing a show with binge-watching in mind.

He also discusses his other new show airing this fall, Young Sheldon on CBS. That series, a prequel to The Big Bang Theory, is also outside of Lorre’s wheelhouse. Instead of a sitcom filmed in front of a studio audience, it’s a single-camera comedy, filmed more in the style of a movie, with no audience to offer laughter on the spot.

Young Sheldon tells the story of science prodigy Sheldon Cooper as a nine-year-old growing up in East Texas, surrounded by a family that tries to support him, but doesn’t quite know how to handle his intellect.

Iain Armitage plays young Sheldon, and fittingly, Jim Parsons provides the voiceover for his inner dialogue. Lorre tells us why he specifically did not want this show filmed in front of an audience and about dealing with what feels like the brutally long amount of time it takes to film a single-camera show as opposed to a multi-cam sitcom.

Chuck Lorre, Television writer, producer and director

Hollywood news banter 7 MIN

Matt Belloni, editorial director of the Hollywood Reporter, joins guest host Michael Schneider to discuss top entertainment news stories of the week.

  • The domestic summer box office is down 15 percent from last year, and to cap it all off, for the first time in 25 years there will be no new wide release on Labor Day Weekend.
  • In Hollywood’s continued addiction to superheroes and franchises, there are now two Joker movies in the works at Warner Brothers. One will be a "love story" between the Joker and Harley Quinn and the other will be an origin story about the Batman villain.
  • A recently released deposition gave a window into how Judge Judy negotiates her contract at CBS. Short answer? She doesn't. She says, every three years she writes down the amount she wants and CBS delivers. With some recent notable departures of top TV talent going from broadcast to Netflix, it's more important than ever for CBS to hang on to one of their biggest assets.

Matthew Belloni, Hollywood Reporter (@THRMattBelloni)


Michael Schneider

Kaitlin Parker

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