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Exec producer Lorre may fall from ‘Grace’

Brett Butler may share another distinction with Roseanne Arnold: in addition to translating a stand-up act into a top-rated ABC/Carsey-Werner Co. series, the show’s creator-exec producer will apparently leave before the first season is over.

Chuck Lorre is said to be giving up his role as exec producer of “Grace Under Fire.”

Butler publicly referred to the change at Thursday’s Hollywood Radio and Television Society luncheon. (For more on the luncheon, see page 36.)

A spokesman for Carsey-Werner, however, would only say that the company is “in discussions” regarding the matter and would have an announcement “when something is firm.” There have been reports since last summer, before the show premiered, that the producer and star had clashed creatively.

Sources say Lorre will be replaced by Marc Flanagan — currently supervising producer on CBS’ “Love & War”– as well as another yet-to-be-chosen show runner. C-W principals Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner and exec Caryn Mandabach also hold exec producer credits on the show.

“Grace” is currently television’s highest-rated new series,scoring its best rating yet on Wednesday (see related story, above). The show and its star also nabbed People’s Choice awards earlier this week in two new-series categories. Prior to “Grace,” Lorre created Carsey-Werner’s short-lived CBS series “Frannie’s Turn.”

As for the parallels, “Roseanne’s” first exec producer, Matt Williams, also left before its first season was completed due to differences with its namesake. Williams still receives a “created by” credit on the series.

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