It’s a nervous time at Chuck Lorre Productions. Yes, the company has some of the most popular television sitcoms of the modern era in their production schedule and founder Chuck Lorre has been in the industry since his days on “Roseanne,” yet the nerves will once again be surfacing as new show “Mom” hits the airwaves. Let’s take a look at some of the sitcoms that Chuck Lorre Productions have put to air over the years.
“Grace Under Fire” (1993-1998) – One of the most forgotten sitcoms from the Chuck Lorre Productions stable is “Grace Under Fire,” a show that centered around the ironically named Grace Kelly (played by Brett Butler). The show touched on some pretty confronting story-lines – at the beginning of show Grace had just divorced her abusive, alcoholic husband while she herself was battling her own alcoholism. The show might not have ever reached the dizzy heights of some of CLP’S other shows but it did show that this was a company that was willing to produce some creative television.
“Cybill” (1995-1998) – Another surprise hit from CLP was the underrated “Cybill.” Ironically the show starred Cybill Shepherd as a struggling middle-aged actress who was desperate to make it in Hollywood. While some were critical of the show its ‘warm’ feel was popular with its audience and the show also become an award winner picking up two Golden Globes and a number of Primetime Emmy Awards along the way. Sadly despite its success CBS axed the show after its fourth season, a move that Cybill Shepherd believes was as a result of the fact that there were tensions between the cast and crew backstage.
“Dharma & Greg” (1997-2002) – There was a time when “Dharma & Greg” ruled the airwaves. It’s star Jenna Elfman was an A-Lister and the show could do very little wrong. Fans loved the simple story that at its heart was the traditional ‘Odd Couple’ tale. Assistant DA Greg Montgomery (Thomas Gibson) fell in love with free-loving unconventional Dharma Finkelstein Montgomery (Elfman) and then married her which created some absolute gems for the screenwriters along the way. The show won over a legion of fans during its time on television and even managed to pick up a Golden Globe for Elfman along the way.
“Two And A Half Men” (2003-current) – The first of the modern day CLP juggernauts arrived in the surprise hit “Two And A Half Men.” Yet another odd couple story this time it centered around the serious but lovable loser Alan Harper (Jon Cryer) having to move in with his over-sexed, substance abusing brother Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen). Oh and of course the ‘half man’ Jake Harper (Angus T. Jones) also had to move into a household that wasn’t very child-worthy at all. The show became an instant ratings success picking up a plethora of awards along the way including two Golden Globes. Even the very public meltdown of the show’s star Charlie Sheen couldn’t bring down the show. After some very angry war of words Sheen was replaced with big time star Ashton Kutcher and while the ratings took a hit the show has continued along and is currently in its eleventh season.
“The Big Bang Theory” (2007-current) – The second big modern day hit for CLP is the ‘show that keeps giving’ “The Big Bang Theory.” The show which creatively centers around four geniuses, Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki), Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons), Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg), Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) and their sexy neighbor Penny (Kaley Cuoco). The show really has shown just what a genius Chuck Lorre is, the fantastic ‘geek references’ and brilliant subsidiary characters have made “The Big Bang Theory” a must see television show for fans right around the world. The show may have also won a Golden Globe but its success is probably better summed up by the fact that a production company in Belarus decided to completely rip off the show while a group of Brazilian Biologists named one of their discoveries in such a way they could include Sheldon’s famous ‘Bazinga’ catchphrase.
“Mike & Molly” (2010-current) – With “Two & A Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory” going great guns the CLP creative juices got flowing again and out came “Mike & Molly” a television show that was all about two characters who started dating after meeting at an Over-Eaters Anonymous Meeting. The show broke all conventions in the sense that at a time when obesity became frowned upon yet seemed to celebrate the weight of the two main characters, Mike Biggs (Billy Gardell) and Molly Flynn (Melissa McCarthy). Despite McCarthy’s sucsess on the big screen in movies such as “Bridesmaids” and “The Heart,” Mike & Molly hasn’t exactly matched its stable-mates in the ratings stakes but it is has still managed to win a number of awards including a Primetime Emmy.
“Mom” (2013-curent) – The latest arrival from CLP has been “Mom.” Just like “Mike & Molly” the show has an already made big screen comedy actress in its lead role with “Scary Movie” star Anna Faris playing Christy a newly sober woman trying to be there for her daughter Violet (Sadie Calvano) and seeking advice from her own mother Bonnie (Allison Janney). The show has received mixed reviews but is only thirteen episodes into his lifespan, so only time will tell if CLP is yet again onto another winner.
Chuck Lorre Productions is now of the most successful television productions companies in America at the moment. The fresh ideas that come from its writers and creator Chuck Lorre seems set to make sure that CLP remains a force to be reckoned with for a number of years to come.