Warner Bros. TV is close to clinching a megabucks long-term production pact with writer-producer Chuck Lorre, a sitcom vet who most recently co-created the ABC hit “Dharma & Greg.”
Lorre’s existing deal with Twentieth Century Fox TV, home of “Dharma,” is about to expire. A number of studios bid in the auction for Lorre’s services, but Warner Bros. TV prexy Peter Roth — who signed Lorre four years ago when Roth was prexy of Twentieth — was said to have been determined to bring Lorre to Burbank.
WB reps declined to comment on the matter, and Lorre could not be reached for comment late Friday.
Deal, believed to cover a four-year term, is worth an estimated mid-seven figures per year to Lorre, although there was speculation that it went as high as $8 million. But others familiar with the deal said it was comparable to the multimillion-dollar pacts of WB writer-producer stars Bright/Kauffman/Crane (“Friends”) and Bruce Helford, shepherd of “The Drew Carey Show” and “Norm.”
Even with the move to WB, Lorre is expected to continue working on “Dharma & Greg,” which begins its third season this week as the anchor of ABC’s Tuesday comedy lineup. Meanwhile, “Dharma” co-creator Dottie Dartland has recently re-signed a rich, three-year development deal with Twentieth.
Before the bow of “Dharma” in 1997, Lorre created and launched the 1993-97 Brett Butler comedy “Grace Under Fire” for ABC and Carsey-Werner Co., as well as the 1995-97 Cybill Shepherd starrer “Cybill,” for C-W and CBS. Lorre exited both of those shows early on, reportedly due to creative conflicts with his strong-willed stars.
Lorre faced a misfire in 1996 with the Jim Belushi comedy “It’s Good to be King,” which was scrapped before it got on the air.
Earlier in his career, Lorre worked as a writer on “Roseanne,” “Charles in Charge” and a number of short-lived sitcoms. He’s also a tunesmith, having written the theme song for the long-running “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” cartoon series, among other TV music credits.
Lorre is repped by Broder Kurland Webb Uffner.