Chuck Lorre

Critically praised 'Big Bang' bolsters CBS lineup

Lorre already has the most popular sitcom on television, even if some critics aren’t thrilled about it. His “Two and a Half Men” drew an average of 14.1 million viewers last season to CBS at 9 p.m. Mondays, and its ratings power helped the Eye launch “Rules of Engagement,” which immediately became the No. 2 half-hour comedy with 12.1 million viewers.

Imagine what will happen now that Lorre has shepherded a show that critics are embracing.

Lorre’s latest, “The Big Bang Theory” (co-created with Bill Prady), has been among the best-reviewed new fall series. Perhaps ironically considering its source, it exudes an underdog quality — bolstered by wholly committed performances from Johnny Galecki (“Roseanne”) and Jim Parsons.

Sliding into the CBS Monday sked at 8:30 p.m., just after “How I Met Your Mother” and before “Men,” “Big Bang” could make Lorre broadcast TV’s true king of comedy.

“The appropriate response is to crawl into a prenatal ball and weep,” Lorre says. “But at the moment, everything is good.”

And if it’s any consolation, should “Big Bang” fizzle, Lorre will just have all the more reason to ignore critics in the future.

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