It’s no exaggeration to say that Chuck Lorre has saved the multicamera sitcom from extinction.
In March, when most showrunners were sweating the fate of their shows, CBS gave a three-season pickup to Lorre’s “Two and a Half Men” — primetime’s most-watched laffer for four years and counting — and a two-season renewal to the fast-growing “The Big Bang Theory.”
What’s the secret to great comedy? For Lorre, it’s not about camera angles or gimmicks, just finely drawn characters that are deeply loved by the writers and the actors who play them.
“You must care about them to the point of loving them,” Lorre advises. “You need to feel protective about them, you need to want to nurture them and find ways to let them thrive. You’ve always got to find ways in the writing to let them evolve, and to give the actors the space to act.”
Lorre’s experience the past six years with the two skeins stands in sharp contrast with his early career on more explosive sets (“Roseanne,” “Cybill,” “Grace Under Fire”). He can’t say enough about his good fortune of late with his casts and the core group of seasoned comedy scribes, notably “Men” co-creator Lee Aronsohn and “Big Bang” co-creator Bill Prady, that make his shows sing every week.
“The stage is still a wonderful place to go every week,” Lorre says. “I’m so fortunate to work all these years in a drama-free environment.”