Anna Faris might play ditzy onscreen, but don’t discount her industry acumen when it comes to comedy’s playability with an audience. As one of the leading comedic females, she’s got the pratfalls and cheeky camera reactions down pat, but she also knows what types of raunchy comedy features click and don’t click, having relished the highs with the near billion-dollar Scary Movie franchise, and weathered the market’s ennui with What’s Your Number? There’s nothing wrong with raunchy female roles per se according to Faris; there just needs to be an evolution with them. It’s partly why she took a pause from her string of marquee roles to play Christy: A complicated, ex-alcoholic mother who is trying to piece her life back together in Chuck Lorre’s CBS-Warner Bros. TV comedy Mom. While Faris still gets to show her flair for physical comedy, her Christy has tackled such heavy story arcs like teenage pregnancy, long-lost fathers and cancer. During her childhood in Seattle, Faris says comedy wasn’t her strong suit: “I was the short one with headgear who just had the desire to be heard.” But she quickly earned her funny stripes after working with such icons as David Zucker and Keenen Ivory Wayans, the latter who advised, “There’s no vanity in comedy”. “Embrace the idea that the audience will think you’re a certain type of person,” says Faris. Click through for our interview with her:
CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler this morning confirmed that the upcoming 12th season of veteran comedy Two And A Half Men will be its last. The network is planning a sendoff similar to that for How I Met Your Mother this season, with co-creator/executive producer Chuck Lorre promising a “season-long event.” Men defied the odds, surviving the meltdown and subsequent firing of original star Charlie Sheen to go on for four more seasons with new leading man Ashton Kutcher. Asked whether Sheen could appear on the final season to resurrect his character Charlie Harper, CBS chairman Nina Tassler said, “Chuck Lorre has a lot of surprises in store, I’m not sure this is one of them.”
Angus T. Jones Says He Was A “Paid Hypocrite” On CBS’ ‘Two And A Half Men’ And Wants To Act In “Bible-Based Stories”: Video
Angus T. Jones, formerly the highest-paid child actor in TV history, says he was a “paid hypocrite” during his time on CBS‘ comedy Two And A Half Men because he “wasn’t OK” with being “part of something that was making light of topics in our world where there are really problems for a lot of people.” Jones, now 20 and a student at the University of Colorado in Boulder, talked to Houston TV station KHOU over the weekend; he was in town to speak at the World Harvest Outreach, a Seventh-Day Adventist congregation, the station said. “I really want to come into the light because I know that is where the healing is and I’ve seen God do amazing things,” Jones said. World Harvest Outreach Church Pastor James R. Doggett Sr told the station, “I’m not sure [Jones] cares a whole lot about being an actor or being well known, in that regard.” Watch here:
But, of course, if he were not a well-known actor who co-starred in one of the country’s most successful recent comedy series, no one would care about his thoughts about the role of TV comedy in larger society. And, of course, his celebrity is bringing this Houston church pots of attention — like the KHOU interview — and this post. Ditto the Forerunner Chronicles church, which, in November 2012, posted the video that went viral, in which Jones announced, “If you watch Two And A Half Men, please stop watching. I’m on Two And A Half Men and I don’t want to be on it. Please stop watching it. Please stop filling your head with filth.” Some actors also got traction off of Jones’ video with parodies.
Bazinga! CBS and Warner Bros. Television have reached a deal for a three-year renewal of broadcast TV’s top entertainment series, The Big Bang Theory, that would keep the hit comedy on the air through the 2016-2017 season, the series’ 10th. No one is commenting, but I hear the license fee is in the $4 million-$5 million range per episode (closer to $4 million), a high number for a comedy series. This marks Big Bang‘s second consecutive three-season pickup, a commitment reserved only for the biggest shows on television. While it is the biggest deal by far, Big Bang is not the only WBTV comedy in renewal talks with CBS. I hear the network and the studio also are in discussions on the other three Chuck Lorre series, with a 13-episode final season of Two And A Half Men eyed along with renewals for next season of Mike & Molly and freshman Mom.
With the Big Bang license deal secured, WBTV and CBS will turn their attention to the cast. There had been some overtures but no real negotiations so far with original cast members Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar, whose contracts are up at the end of this season. (Big Bang’s other regulars, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch, closed new deals last fall.) Put on hold while license fee negotiations were going on, talks with Galecki, Parsons and Cuoco are expected to kick into gear soon. Currently at about $350,000 per episode, the three leads are projected to get to the Friends cast mark of $1 million an episode.
Chuck Lorre Explains Ben Affleck Manhood Joke, Names Martin Scorsese & Harvey Weinstein As Original Targets
Despite a historic tie for best picture at the PGA Awards a week ago, the most talked about moment from the ceremony was when Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television winner Chuck Lorre recounted a brief bathroom encounter with Ben Affleck at the Golden Globes when the two peed next to each other. “Yes, I peeked. And yes, Comic-Con — he can play Batman,” Lorre said to roaring laughter, a line that later sparked a witty response from best picture presenter Affleck (watch the video below). Now Lorre used a vanity card that aired at the end of his CBS comedies Mike & Molly and Mom last night to set the record straight on the described encounter (yes, it was a joke). He revealed the original versions of the anecdote that would’ve featured director Martin Scorsese and mogul Harvey Weinstein as well as the reasons he rejected them before settling on Affleck. Here is the card:
Not that it really matters, but the joke I made at the Producers Guild Awards regarding Ben Affleck’s genitals being of sufficient size to fill the caped crusader’s codpiece was just that, a joke. I’ve never met Mr. Affleck in or out of a men’s room. Nor am I in the habit of peeking at another guy’s junk while standing at a urinal. (I mostly stare at the tiles and worry that the invisible auto-flush light beam is secretly cooking my internal organs.) I just wanted to open my speech with a cheap laugh about the Golden Globes. To be completely honest, the original version of the joke had me peeing next to and peeking at Martin Scorsese — who was, at best, a grower not a show-er. I cut it, wisely I thought, because it felt unfair to “belittle” a giant of cinema, even if I had issues with “Hugo.” I then considered telling the same joke with Harvey Weinstein as the celebrity at the neighboring stall, but cut that as well because I worried that he might be able to have me hurt.
The Producers Guild Of America‘s Sunday night awards show produced a lot of dramatic highlights but also a couple of very funny moments, mostly due to Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television winner Chuck Lorre‘s amusing and, at times, touching acceptance speech. The funniest bit, though, had to do with his Golden Globes encounter in the Beverly Hilton men’s room with Ben Affleck. His telling of the story and Affleck’s response later in the evening — just before he made the dramatic announcement of the tie for Best Picture — provided some of the biggest laughs of the evening. Check out the Lorre video:
Now that he could be facing jail time for his Friday Twitter rampage, is Anger Management‘s Charlie Sheen looking to make some amends today? Two days after violating a gag order issued during his ongoing child custody case with a string of erratic Tweets attacking both the presiding judge and ex-wife Brooke Mueller, Sheen Tweeted to his former Two and a Half Men EP Chuck Lorre promising an apology – and more. Sheen’s string of Lorre insults during the actor’s very public meltdown in early 2011 led to his dismissal from the long-runing comedy series. “Hey Chuck,” Sheen wrote this morning. “I have an idea that u need to hear after I make amends to you and yours. Which I will do in person,” he posted, along with a photo of their 2007 People’s Choice Award for Men. Legit apologia, soul searching in the face of jail time or another public Sheen stunt in the making? Lorre has yet to respond.
The Producers Guild of America will honor writer/producer Chuck Lorre with its 2014 Norman Lear Award in Television, which it will present during the 25th annual PGA Awards on January 19. Lorre co-created and executive produces TV’s hit series The Big Bang Theory, Two And A Half Men and new comedy Mom. He also serves as executive producer of Mike & Molly. His previous hits include Dharma & Greg, Grace Under Fire and Cybill, and he served as co-executive producer on Roseanne. “Chuck Lorre has produced some of the most iconic television shows of our time, including ‘Dharma & Greg,’ ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and ‘Two and a Half Men,’ just to mention a few. These series have impacted television on a level that we rarely see,” said PGA Awards Co-Chairs Lori McCreary Invictus and Michael De Luca. “In a TV landscape that often feels saturated with homogenized, interchangeable series, his distinctive voice and commitment to vivid, one-of-a-kind characters have made him one of the true mainstays of our weekly television schedule. Lorre is the definition of an iconic comedy producer and we are so pleased to honor him this year with the Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television.” Read the complete announcement here:
Coming off its highest-rated and arguably its strongest season creatively, The Big Bang Theory, which nabbed the Critics Choice TV Award in June, was a prime contender for the best series Emmy on Sunday. It wasn’t to be, with Modern Family repeating as a winner for a fourth time, but you can’t blame co-creator/exec producer Chuck Lorre for going prepared (or maybe he jotted down a few notes just in case after dark horse winner Merritt Wever’s train-wreck onstage appearance). At the end of Big Bang‘s seventh season premiere last night, Lorre posted “The Emmy Speech That Stayed In My Pocket.” It includes reminders to breathe and not cry and lists the people he didn’t want to forget thanking — the TV Academy, the fans, CBS‘ Leslie Moonves and Nina Tassler, Warner Bros’ Peter Roth and PR team Tammy Golihew and Susan Kesser, the cast, the crew, the writing staff including new showrunner Steve Molaro, and guest star Bob Newhart, who won his first Emmy this year for his guest role on Big Bang. The show itself wasn’t meant to score its first Emmy on Sunday (it brought home another award for star Jim Parsons). But there is time. Many hit multi-camera comedies had to wait a long time for their first best series Emmy. Everybody Loves Raymond was first recognized after Season 7, Friends after Season 8. So Lorre may want to …
Chuck Lorre, who is famous for his exits from sitcoms about women looking for a second start, says he’ll keep doing them until he makes one on which he survives. “I tried it with Grace Under Fire and I left that show…well, just because. And I tried that with Cybil and…moving on,” he joked today at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013. His latest stab: CBS’s new Mom, about a recovering alcoholic, who’s also a mother, played by Ana Faris. Allison Janney plays her mom. Chuck Lorre says he originally thought his next series would be about vampires. “Been done” he announced. “I wanted to tell a story about a woman starting her life over again and redemption and all those funny premises for a sitcom…This is a story that’s very meaningful to me. It’s about starting your life over again repairing the mistakes that you’ve done. Getting another start [is] very much a story of Los Angeles, even though this isn’t set in Los Angeles, because this is the city of second chances or fifth or sixth chances.”
Faris calls the role a “Cinderella shoe” after a run of one-dimensional parts. “Playing one-dimensional characters like Cindy from Scary Movie is actually really difficult because it’s not someone you really know.. I felt I was in a place in my career …
First off, congratulations to all writers, producers, actors and agents who landed new series this week. I know it wasn’t easy. Here is Deadline’s annual list of those who excelled at the upfronts. I tried to be inclusive, but if I’ve missed anyone who’s had a banner week, let me know. I’ve also compiled a list of pods and independent producers with multiple broadcast series.
Cougar Town co-creator Bill Lawrence and his Doozer banner had three new series unveiled at the upfronts this week: comedies Undateable on NBC, Surviving Jack on Fox and Ground Floor on TBS. Also, TBS recently renewed Cougar Town for a fifth season.
J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot claimed one of the top new drama series last season with NBC’s Revolution and one of the hottest sophomore shows with CBS’ Person Of Interest. The company is keeping the momentum with two new series orders for next season: Almost Human at Fox and Believe at NBC.
Independent producer Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment received two new series orders from the broadcast networks: Back In The Game at ABC and Friends With Better Lives at CBS. Additionally, his freshman ABC comedy The Neighbors was renewed and his ABC pilot Bad Management is in serious contention for a series pickup. Kaplan also received two cable series orders in the past month, for Chasing Life on ABC Family and Instant Mom on NickMom, and also has comedy series Wendell & Vinnie on Nick at Nite and pilot HR at Lifetime.
Writer-producer Julie Plec also landed two new series this week, both at the CW: She wrote/executive produces the planted Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals and executive produces The Tomorrow People. Additionally, she executive produces TVD, giving her three series on the air next season. (Fellow Tomorrow People executive producer Greg Berlanti has two, including returning CW hit Arrow.)
The “C” in CBS can now officially stand for Chuck as top producer Chuck Lorre will have four series on the network in the fall. I’ve learned that CBS will pick up Lorre’s comedy pilot Mom to series tomorrow, a full week before the network’s upfront presentation. It will be the first pilot from this year’s crop to get a series order. A select few A-list producers get early pickup deadlines from the networks, giving them a window to shop the projects elsewhere if they get a pass. Lorre understandably is in that category with an unusually early deadline for Mom this year even by those standards. Not that there has ever been any doubt that CBS would exercise its option to pick up Mom to series. Written on spec by Lorre, Eddie Gorodetsky and Gemma Baker, Mom has been sailing through the pilot process with a hot script, top-notch cast led by Anna Faris and Allison Janney and great table read and taping that led to a finished pilot that has been well received. The series, produced by Warner Bros TV and Chuck Lorre Prods., centers on a newly sober single mom (Faris) who tries to pull her life together in Napa Valley. It is eyed for the Monday 8:30 PM slot following the final season of How I Met Your Mother – which is exec produced/directed by Pam Fryman, who also helmed the Mom pilot. Despite his tremendous workload, Lorre
“We’ve told (Two And A Half Men producer) Warner Bros. TV that we would like to have a 11th season,” CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler said at TCA this morning. “They’re equally interested.” With the cast’s deals up at the end of the season, including star Ashton Kutcher, and the latest controversy surrounding Angus T. Jones, many have speculated that the show may call it a day after 10 seasons, a high-profile leading man switch from Charlie Sheen to Kutcher and a ton of tabloid headlines.
But, after a slowish start, Men has been thriving in its new Thursday 8:30 PM, hitting season highs. And Lorre this week indicated that all has been forgiven with Jones, who is returning to work next week with a meaty new storyline featuring Emmy winner Jaime Pressly as his “cougar” love interest. “He’s part of our show. He’s part of our family. We love him… He’s 19, man. Cut him some slack,” Lorre said on Wednesday.
This morning, Tassler echoed Lorre’s sentiment. “We’d like him to be part of (the show) next year, I think he would like to come back too, and Chuck and Warner Bros. would do too,” she said on stage. She later continued: “You know what, the kid is 19 years …
He’s back! After a month-a-half hiatus, Two And A Half Men co-star Angus T. Jones is returning to the set of the CBS comedy next week to film his first episode following the release of his controversial religious testimonial, in which he slammed the racy series as “filth” and urged viewers to “stop watching it.” In a sign that there are no hard feelings between 2.5 Men producers and Jones, whose character has been stuck Skype-ing from the Army for most of this season, he is getting a meaty storyline in his first episode back. Emmy winner Jaime Pressly has been cast as a new love interest for Jones’ Jake. She will be introduced in the episode, which starts production on Monday. In a guest starring and potentially recurring role, the My Name Is Earl alumna Pressly will play Jake’s “cougar” girlfriend from the sticks of SD.
In red carpet interviews at the People’s Choice Awards on Wednesday night, Men executive producer Chuck Lorre confirmed that Jones will be back at work on Monday and indicated that the controversy over the actor’s viral anti-Men rant has blown over and all has been forgiven. “He’s part of our show. He’s part of our family. We love him,” Lorre said. “He’s 19, man. Cut him some slack.” Lorre even supported Jones’ most explosive comment. “I can’t really disagree …
Anna Faris has been tapped as the lead in Mom, CBS‘ comedy pilot from Chuck Lorre, the man behind the network’s comedy series Two And A Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and Mike & Molly. Mom, which Lorre co-wrote on spec with two members of his Two And A Half Men team — executive producer Eddie Gorodetsky and story editor Gemma Baker — centers on a newly sober single mom (Faris) who tries to pull her life together in Napa Valley. The project, produced by Warner Bros TV and studio-based Chuck Lorre Prods, was taken to CBS last month, landing a pilot order.
This marks a rare foray into TV for feature actress Faris, The House Bunny star who has been on the wish list of comedy pilot casting directors for several years. Her only previous series credits include a high-profile guest arc on the final season of NBC’s Friends as the birth mother of the twin babies adopted by Monica and Chandler, and another one on HBO’s Entourage where she played herself. Faris, repped by WME, Anonymous Content and attorney Robert Offer, also played the lead in Jhoni Marchinko’s 2005 NBC comedy pilot Blue Skies and has twice hosted NBC’s Saturday Night Live. On the feature side, her credits include the Scary Movie franchise, Lost In Translation and most recently, The Dictator and What’s Your Number?
EXCLUSIVE: Comedy king Chuck Lorre is expanding his relationship with CBS with a new half-hour project, which is instantly becoming a top prospect for the network’s fall 2013 schedule. The network has given a pilot production order to Mom, a multi-camera comedy from Lorre, who is behind half of CBS’ comedy series: Two And A Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and Mike & Molly. Lorre co-wrote Mom on spec with two members of his Two And A Half Men team, executive producer Eddie Gorodetsky and story editor Gemma Baker. Mom centers on a newly sober single mom who tries to pull her life together in Napa Valley. The project, which was developed internally at Warner Bros TV, marks Lorre’s first project under the blockbuster new four-year deal he inked with the studio in September. It also marks Lorre’s return to comedies with a female lead where he had success in the 1990s with Grace Under Fire and Cybill.
Back in early 2011 when Charlie Sheen went on a rampage trashing Two And A Half Men, the brunt of his attacks were directed at the show’s co-creator/executive producer Chuck Lorre. Almost two years later, Sheen is back at it, blaming Lorre for his former co-star Angus T. Jones‘ controversial video testimonial for Forerunner Christian Church, in which the young actor referred to Men as “filth” and urged viewers to “stop watching it.” “Obviously, not having been there for some time, the Angus T. Jones that I knew and still love is not the same guy I saw on YouTube yesterday,” Sheen told TMZ. “I dare anyone to spend 10 years in the laugh-track that is Chuck Lorre’s hive of oppression and not suffer some form of an emotional tsunami.”
For his part, Jones never took shots at Lorre in his comments on Men. And in his statement about the video remarks issued yesterday, Jones personally acknowledged Lorre as one of the people “responsible for what has been one of the most significant experiences in my life to date.” Here is a photo of the two a month ago when Jones attended …
Chuck Lorre had some harsh words in his latest vanity card about Mitt Romney’s ability to relate to most Americans and “idiotic game shows like The Bachelor.” But he chose to address those topics and more last night online – not on CBS. “I’ve decided to save everybody a lot of unhappiness and not submit this week’s vanity card to the CBS censors (I know when I’ve crossed the line with these things and don’t need a bunch of corporate lawyers getting their cotton blend panties in a bunch). Accordingly, I’ve banished the offending card to that dark place where all my offending cards go — the internet,” wrote The Big Bang Theory executive producer in the card that popped up for a second at the end of last night’s show. Here’s what Lorre wrote online:
CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #397
CENSORED BY ME
What does it say about us when we are simultaneously pro-life and pro AK-47′s? What does it say about us when God’s will would allow a rapist to ask for shared custody and child support payments? What does it say about us when a black guy’s in charge and we say things like “it’s time to take America back”? What does it say about us when we think the institution of marriage is threatened by gay people who love each other, but not by idiotic game shows like “The Bachelor”? What does