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‘The Mentalist’ Explores New Network Homes In Case CBS Does Not Renew Series

By | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 2:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

The Golden HammerWith The Mentalist‘s future at CBS in serious doubt, I hear the studio behind the veteran drama, Warner Bros TV, has been quietly shopping the series to other networks, garnering some preliminary interest from broadcast and cable. Taking in a 6-year-old high-end drama is not an easy proposition, but WBTV is ready to explore every possible avenue — that’s how important a property The Mentalist is to the studio with its $2 million-plus-per-episode off-network deal at TNT and big international sales including France, where it is the No. 1 scripted series.

Related: On The Bubble: Where Endangered Broadcast Series Stand

In a situation like that, having a sibling network comes in handy. CBS stepped in when NBC cancelled CBS Studios-produced drama Medium after five seasons, keeping the series and its lucrative off-network deal alive for two more years. When NBC was exploring ending Law & Order: Criminal Intent after six seasons, the series, produced by NBCUniversal, instead moved to sibling USA, which already was carrying CI reruns. The Law & Order spinoff ended up going for four more seasons. The Mentalist wouldn’t be a fit for the only WBTV-affiliated broadcast network, the young skewing CW, making cable sibling TNT the best possible option. Like with L&O: CI and USA, TNT already is the off-network home of The Mentalist and has a slate of crime procedurals. However, the net has been pulling away from the genre lately, putting an emphasis on action-adventure fare in the vein of Falling Skies with such shows as the upcoming The Last Ship and Legends, and I hear it might not be interested in picking up The Mentalist originals (though parent Time Warner could conceivably intervene if the larger company’s financial interest is at stake). Among the major broadcast networks, ABC is said to be open to considering a pickup though it is expected to evaluate its own development first. The network has had success with a similar comedic procedural, Castle, and it also has struggled launching dramas at 10 PM for the past couple of seasons.

Related: CBS Renews 9 Drama Series, 5 Comedies; No ‘Mentalist’ Or ‘Crazy Ones’

When The Mentalist premiered in 2008, it drew comparisons to USA‘s Psych, also a light crime procedural about a fake psychic helping the police. Psych just ended its eight-season run, so there is a vacancy there. But, like TNT, USA too has been moving away from character-based procedurals as it has been showing affinity for edgier dramas, and I hear it likely would not be pursuing The Mentalist. Read More »

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Warner Bros TV Launches Directors’ Workshop

By | Thursday February 20, 2014 @ 11:00am PST

More than three decades after the WBTV Writers’ Workshop was founded, directors are getting in the game. Warner Bros Television today announced the launch of its Directors’ Workshop, which aims to WBTV_DIRECTORS_WORKSHOP_LOGOgive emerging helmers from other mediums such as film, music, commercials and video a chance to break into primetime TV. It will be part of the new Warner Bros Television Workshop that includes the studio’s Writers’ Workshop and Fresh Ink initiative, which seeks diverse voices to develop comedy and drama ideas from women and ethnic minority writers. Submissions are being accepted for the inaugural Directors’ Workshop class, whose three-month course will run May 31-August 23 with weekly meetings on WB’s Burbank lot. Sessions will be held on active series sets and be taught by working pros. Each session will teach a new skill essential for working through pre-production, shooting and post-production. Additional optional components include cinematography workshops, acting classes and the opportunity to shadow directors on an episode of a Warner Bros show.

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‘Modern Family’ Executive Producer Bill Wrubel Inks Deal With Warner Bros. TV

By | Thursday February 6, 2014 @ 11:11am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Bill WrubelEXCLUSIVE: Modern Family executive producer Bill Wrubel will be leaving the Emmy-winning comedy series at the end of this season for a three-year overall deal at Warner Bros. Television. Under the pact, he will develop new television projects for network and cable. Wrubel has been on ABC/20th TV’s Modern Family since after the pilot, joining as a co-executive producer and serving as an executive producer for the past three seasons. Wrubel is one of several Modern Family executive producers whose deals are coming up this season. Danny Zuker and Paul Corrigan & Brad Walsh recently re-signed with 20th TV. Wrubel, repped by CAA and attorney Ken Richman, shared in Modern Family‘s four consecutive best comedy series Emmy wins. He previously worked on other well received series, ABC’s Ugly Betty and Sports Night and NBC’s Will & Grace.

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Adaptations Of Spanish Drama ‘Mysteries Of Laura’, DC Comic ‘Constantine’ Get NBC Pilot Orders

Nellie Andreeva

losmisteriosdelauraUPDATE: NBC also has picked up to pilot Warner Bros TV-produced drama The Mysteries Of Laura, from writer Jeff Rake, Greg Berlanti’s Berlanti Productions and Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment. The project, based on the popular Spanish series Los Misterios De Laura, had a production commitment and I hear has a cast-contingent order. It follows the life and berlantikaplan__130220013414-150x150relationships of a female homicide detective who can handle murderous criminals — but not her evil twins. WBTV, where Berlanti Productions is based, is producing. Rake wrote the adaptation and will executive produce with Berlanti and Kaplan, while Berlanti Productions’ Melissa Kellner Berman co-execute produces.

Related: NBC Picks Up Thriller Drama Pilot Based On Israeli Series ‘The Gordin Cell’: Video

PREVIOConstantine NBC Pilot DC ComicsUS, 3:34 PM: It is a big day for Warner Bros TV and DC Comics. On the heels of Fox confirming its Batman drama Gotham is going to series this morning, NBC has greenlighted a pilot for Constantine, a drama based on the characters in DC Comics’ John Constantine stories. The project, which had a script commitment with penalty, was written by The Mentalist executive producer Daniel Cerone from a story by him and David S. Goyer, the go-to writer for Warner Bros’ feature DC adaptations.  davidgoyerceroneThe two are executive producing, with Cerone serving as showrunner. Constantine centers on John Constantine, an enigmatic and irreverent con man-turned-reluctant supernatural detective who is thrust into the role of defending us against dark forces from beyond.

Related: NBC Gives Pilot Orders To Comedies ‘Mason Twins’ & ‘A To Z’

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The Quiet Before The Storm: Warner Bros TV Readies Offers To ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Cast, In Talks With CBS For New 3-Year Deal

Nellie Andreeva

For long-running series, time is usually not on the side of the cast when they have Big Bang Theory Contract Negotiationsto negotiate new deals because ratings inevitably erode as shows get older. But that will not be the case with CBSThe Big Bang Theory, which, in Season 7, is still at its peak. Things are quiet and there has been no movement yet on the actors, but I hear producing studio Warner Bros TV will likely go out to the three leads — Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco – after the first of the year. The contracts of the trio, along with original cast members Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar, are up at the end of this season, as is CBS’ deal for the show with WBTV. I hear the studio and the network have started discussions about a new license fee deal. Like the last one, I hear the renewal will likely be for three seasons, which means the studio and the network would likely try to lock in Galecki, Parsons, Cuoco, Helberg and Nayyar for the same term. (Big Bang‘s other regulars, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch, recently closed new deals.) Like the last time, in 2010, Galecki, Parsons and Cuoco are expected to go first, followed by Helberg and Nayyar. (The former three are repped by the same law firm, Hansem, Jacobson, Teller, and are expected to negotiate together.)

Related: ’Big Bang’ Stars Score Huge Paydays After Hardball Bargaining

There is no doubt about it — both the license fee and cast deals will be huge. After all, Big Bang Theory is the biggest show on broadcast television. The comedy is running neck and neck with NBC’s Sunday Night Football for the highest-rated program this season adults 25-54, averaging a 8.6 in the most current ratings to SNF’s 8.8. The way Big Bang has separated itself from the pack is staggering. Among adults 18-49, Big Bang averages a 6.8, with the next three series — NBC’s Blacklist (5.0), ABC’s Modern Family (5.0) and NBC’s The Voice (4.9) — almost two rating points behind.

cbs-logo__120711164808__121116195436__130108233101__130716162250__130926192712In May 2010, a day after CBS announced Big Bang‘s move to Thursday 8 PM from its protected Monday 9:30 PM berth, I wrote a column, Is ‘Big Bang Theory’ The Next ‘Friends’? At the time, I felt the multi-camera comedy about a group of friends held the promise to become as successful as its NBC predecessor in the Thursday 8 PM slot. Big Bang has more than delivered on that promise. It is even more dominant than Friends was in its heyday, positioning itself to contend for the type of blockbuster deals Friends – produced by the same studio, WBTV — landed in its last major renegotiation for Season 9. At the time, WBTV broke a record for the highest license fee scored by a half-hour series when NBC agreed to pay $7 million an episode. Read More »

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Ben McKenzie Inks Warner Bros TV Deal

By | Thursday October 17, 2013 @ 11:24am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Ben McKenzie Warner Bros Television DealEXCLUSIVE: Ben McKenzie has spent his entire TV career to date at Warner Bros, starring on The O.C. and Southland. Now the actor is formalizing his relationship with a studio, signing a talent deal that includes a development component. The pact gives WBTV exclusivity on McKenzie’s services as an actor for television projects, while he also can bring the studio projects that he would star in if they go forward. McKenzie was a fresh-faced 24-year-old with virtually no credits when WBTV cast him a decade ago as the lead of its Fox teen drama The O.C. He went on to topline the studio’s cop drama Southland, first on NBC and then on TNT, and starred in WBTV’s CBS drama pilot The Advocates this past season. McKenzie is with CAA, Management 360 and PJ Shapiro.

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ABC, WBTV Team For ‘Girls Without Boys’ From Emily Goldwyn & Sasha Spielberg

By | Wednesday September 25, 2013 @ 5:35pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: ABC has put in development the half-hour single-camera sitcom Girls Without Boys from Warner Bros Television. Emily Goldwyn & Sasha Spielberg will write the project, and Caroline Williams will be the showrunner and executive produce along with Rashida Jones and Will McCormack. Jeff Grosvenor of Jones and McCormack’s Le Train Train will produce. The premise: Three brilliant but socially challenged girls navigate the world outside of single sex education with the help of their eccentric teachers and parents.

The show was hatched by Goldwyn and Spielberg, who are the daughters of John Goldwyn and Steven Spielberg, respectively. They based the concept loosely on their own shared experiences of attending the prestige Marlborough school, located in Los Angeles near a co-ed school. Marlborough may have given them a first-class education, but not about things like being able to talk to boys. Read More »

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Dan Lin Inks New Deal With Warner Bros TV, Jennifer Gwartz Named Lin Pictures COO

By | Wednesday June 26, 2013 @ 9:36am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Dan Lin’s Lin Pictures has made a new two-year overall deal with Warner Bros TV. Under the pact, the company will continue to develop drama and comedy projects for broadcast and cable. Lin TV’s head of television Jennifer Gwartz has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer. In her new position, she will continue to head the company’s development while also helping Lin oversee the overall management of Lin Pictures in both features and television. During their previous overall deal with WBTV, Lin and Gwartz developed and executive produced two projects that went to pilot, hourlong drama Secret Lives Of Wives at Lifetime starring Kim Raver and Salli Richardson; and single-camera comedy The Assistants, starring Catherine O’Hara, Stephen Root, and Brittany Snow, which was in serious contention for a series pickup at Fox this past season and remains alive. Read More »

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Comic-Con: Warner Bros TV Sets Lineup, But JJ Abrams Isn’t In The Mix

By | Friday June 21, 2013 @ 12:37pm PDT

UPDATE, 12:37 PM: JJ Abrams and his Bad Robot has three WBTV series on the producer’s Comic-Con schedule, but his name is not on any panel lists. Turns out he’ll be in Maine that week with his family, he tells Deadline. With as many projects JJ has in the works tailor-made for the Comic-Con crowd (on both the TV and film sides), it’s notable that he won’t be around.

PREVIOUS, 10:45 AM: Warner Bros TV is sending 17 series to San Diego for Comic-Con this year including Arrow, The Big Bang Theory, Childrens Hospital, The Following, Nikita (ahead of its final season), Person Of Interest, Revolution, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, Almost Human, The Originals, The Tomorrow People, The 100, Beware The Batman, MAD, Teen Titans Go! and The Paranormal And Extraterrestrial Squad. That puts high-profile producers Greg Berlanti, Eric Kripke, Jonathan Nolan, Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson on panel duty for the confab, set for July 18-21. (One interesting note: Absent from the panelist lists is Person Of Interest-Revolution-Almost Human exec producer JJ Abrams, who could always pop in but might have other commitments on the film side). During Preview Night on July 17, the production giant will screen the complete pilot episodes of Almost Human, The Tomorrow People and The 100 for the first time as well as a special presentation of The Originals featuring never-before-seen footage that did not air as part of “The Originals” episode of The Vampire Diaries episode in April. Here’s the panel lineup: Read More »

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‘Mad Men’ Writer-Producers Andre & Maria Jacquemetton Ink Deal With Warner Bros TV

By | Friday March 1, 2013 @ 4:00pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Mad Men executive producers Andre and Maria Jacquemetton are leaving the Emmy-winning series after six seasons to sign an overall deal with Warner Bros Television. Under the pact, the duo will develop cable series via Warner Horizon Television, as well as for broadcast through Warner Bros TV. The deal starts May 1, after production of Mad Men’s upcoming sixth season is completed. Read More »

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‘Smallville’ Warner Bros TV Licensing Lawsuit Heading To Jury, Judge Rules

By | Wednesday September 5, 2012 @ 12:30am PDT

Smallville Lawsuit Warner BrosA jury will decide whether Warner Bros Television owes the producers and creators of Smallville $100 million in damages. In a five-page ruling released Tuesday, Judge Michael Johnson cited a number of “triable issues” in the conflict of interest case. In doing so, he rejected WBTV and other WB defendants’ motion for summary judgment over the show about the young Superman. The case will now likely go to trial sometime in mid-2013. Read More »

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EMMYS: Warner Bros TV To ‘Keep Calm’ Socially With Emmy Campaign For Its Series

By | Tuesday June 5, 2012 @ 12:06pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Warner Bros Television is putting social media front and center in its 2012 Emmy campaign. The TV studio is the first to incorporate social “memes” in the campaign for its series this year. If like me, you are not sure what meme is, it is a cultural item transmitted by repetition. WBTV has built its campaign around one of the most popular Internet memes, “Keep Calm”, derived from a little-known British government’s World War II–era “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster (on right), which was rediscovered in the 2000s. The slogan’s popularity has been growing, and it has became a staple of the cultural lexicon of 2012 via Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media.

WBTV’s posters, which will be incorporated in the studio’s print and digital campaign and will be put on custom iPhone skins, keep the style of the original with a twist for each show, including “Keep calm and sing Soft Kitty” for The Big Bang Theory, “Keep calm and marry Molly” for Mike & Molly, “Keep calm and sing on” for The Voice. (For the most technology-savvy series, The Big Bang Theory, there is an extra “Keep Calm and Bazinga” iPad skin.)

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Warner Bros TV Revamps Biz Affairs Team

By | Monday January 23, 2012 @ 6:00pm PST

Warner Bros Television has revamped its business affairs team that services the production units of WBTV and sibling Warner Horizon Television. Adam Glick has been promoted and tapped for the newly created role of EVP Business Affairs at Warner Horizon Television, while Dan Limerick has been promoted to serve as sole head of business affairs at WBTV. Read More »

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Former ‘Daily Show’ EP Josh Lieb Sells Comedy To NBC With Nick Thune, Another One To Fox Produced By Jack Black’s Co.

By | Friday October 7, 2011 @ 4:50pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Former Daily Show executive producer Josh Lieb has sold two multi-camera comedy projects — one at NBC with actor-comedian Nick Thune and one at Fox that Jack Black’s company is producing. Both hail from Warner Bros Television.

The Lieb/Thune comedy received multiple offers before landing at NBC with penalty. Lieb and Thune will write the script for the project, which centers on a heartbroken hipster who quits his job and city life and moves to a small Oregon town. Thune is attached to star, while Lieb would showrun behind the Fox project, which is in first position. Lieb will executive produce, Thune will co-executive produce. Thune, repped by WME and 3 Arts, has starred in NBC comedy pilots for the past two seasons, Beach Lane in 2010 and I Hate That I Love You last year.

Lieb’s Fox comedy, which has a script commitment, is co-produced by WBTV, Jack Black’s Electric Dynamite and Reveille, where the company has an exclusive production deal. Written and to be executive produced by Lieb, the untitled project centers on a newly divorced father of two who asks his twentysomething sister to move in with him and help him restart his life. After a four-year stint as Daily Show executive producer, WME-repped Lieb left the hit Comedy Central show at the beginning of the year to … Read More »

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Fox Buys Legal Drama From Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim

By | Friday August 5, 2011 @ 9:37am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Greg Berlanti has sold his first project under his rich new overall deal with Warner Bros Television — a legal drama to be written by his frequent collaborator Marc Guggenheim. The project, entitled Guilty, has landed at Fox with a script commitment with penalty said to be in the put pilot range. It centers on a brilliant, morally questionable defense attorney who, after being falsely convicted of fraud and stripped of his legal license, uses his unorthodox methods to solve the cases he’s been prohibited from handling and to ultimately exact revenge on the men who set him up. This marks the latest legal drama project for Guggenheim, who is a former lawyer. His first produced work was an episodic script for The Practice. He also worked on NBC’s Law & Order and ABC’s In Justice, and co-created with Berlanti the supernatural legal drama Eli Stone. Guggenheim, who also is a longtime comic book writer, most recently executive produced alongside Berlanti the ABC Studios superhero family drama No Ordinary Family. Their joint credits also include this summer’s feature Green Lantern, which the two co-wrote, and the short-lived WB drama series Jack & Bobby, which Berlanti co-created/executive produced under his first overall deal with Warner Bros TV. Berlanti recently returned to the studio after a five-year stint at ABC Studios. Guggenheim and Berlanti are executive producing Guilty for WBTV and Berlanti Television.

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Dan Lin’s Company Launches TV Division, Signs Overall Deal With Warner Bros TV

By | Tuesday August 2, 2011 @ 3:32pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: After testing the TV waters last season, feature producer Dan Lin is putting down small-screen roots, forming a television division of his company Lin Pictures and signing an overall deal with Warner Bros Television. Veteran TV development executive/producer Jennifer Gwartz has been tapped to run the new division, which is looking to develop drama and comedy projects with aspirational, uplifting stories that are often associated with Lin-produced features. Additionally, Gwartz, who also has feature background having worked on such movies as Scream, Copland, Lethal Weapon 4 and The Matrix, will work closely Lin’s feature development team.

Last season was Lin’s first in television. Through a first-look deal with Warner Bros TV, an extension to his his Warner Bros production deal on the feature side, he sold three projects: Poe, written by Chris Hollier, and Teach, written by Rina Mimoun, to ABC; and Mavericks, written by Gary Scott Thompson, to Fox. One of them, Poe, went to pilot. Gwartz is probably best known for her frequent collaborations with writer-producer Rob Thomas, most recently serving as executive producer on his Fox/WBTV comedy pilot Little In Common, which continues to be in strong contention for a midseason pickup. Read More »

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YABBA DABBA DOO! Seth MacFarlane Finally Gets Go-Ahead To Reboot ‘The Flintstones’

UPDATE 2:15 PM: TOLDJA! Fox just announced the deal at its upfront this afternoon. Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly said production on the animated series will begin production in Fall 2011 for a 2013 premiere on the Fox schedule. In a cross-studio collaboration, The Flintstones will be produced jointly by 20th Century Fox Television and Warner Bros Television. Dan Palladino (Gilmore Girls) and Kara Vallow (Family Guy) will serve as executive producers with Seth MacFarlane who says the very first cartoon character he drew at age 2 was Fred Flintstone. “So it’s appropriate that events have come full circle, allowing me to produce the newest incarnation of this great franchise. Plus, I think America is finally ready for an animated sitcom about a fat stupid guy with a wife who’s too good for him.” Added Reilly: “The Flintstones are among the funniest and most beloved characters in television history, and we can’t wait to introduce them to a whole new generation on Fox,” said Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. “FOX has long been home to iconic families like the Simpsons and the Griffins, so I have no doubt that the Flintstones and the Rubbles are going to fit right in on our air.”  He hinted that the deal for the show closed just hours before the presentation today — just like I told you. In a video shown at the upfronts, MacFarlane shed some light on his plans … Read More »

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It’s Official: Ashton Kutcher To Star In ‘Two And A Half Men’

Nellie Andreeva

DONE DEAL: Ashton Kutcher New Star Of ‘Two & A Half Men’ Replacing Charlie Sheen

CBS and Warner Bros. Television announced today that Ashton Kutcher will join the cast of the hit comedy, TWO AND A HALF MEN.

The multi-talented Kutcher, whose success spans film, television and social media, will join Jon Cryer, Angus T. Jones, Holland Taylor, Marin Hinkle and Conchata Ferrell on the top-rated series.  Production on the ninth season of the Emmy Award-nominated TWO AND A HALF MEN will begin this summer for broadcast on the CBS Television Network in the fall.

“I can’t wait to get to work with this ridiculously talented 2.5 team and I believe we can fill the stage with laughter that will echo in viewers’ homes,” said Kutcher.  “I can’t replace Charlie Sheen but I’m going to work my ass off to entertain the hell out of people!”

“We are so lucky to have someone as talented, joyful and just plain remarkable as Ashton joining our family,” said Chuck Lorre, creator and executive producer of TWO AND A HALF MEN.  “Added to that is the deep sigh of relief knowing that our family stays together.  If I was any happier, it’d be illegal.”

Read More »

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Chuck Lorre’s Attorney Calls Charlie Sheen’s $100 Million Lawsuit ‘Recklessly False’

By | Thursday March 10, 2011 @ 3:48pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

The man at the center of Charlie Sheen’s $100 million lawsuit filed today, Two and a Half Men co-creator/executive producer Chuck Lorre, has responded to the suit through a statement from his lawyer, Howard Weitzman. “The allegations in the complaint against Mr. Lorre are as recklessly false and unwarranted as Mr. Sheen’s rantings in the media,” Weitzman said. “The accusations are simply imaginary. This lawsuit is about a fantasy ‘lottery’ pay-day for Charlie Sheen.” Meanwhile, “Chuck Lorre’s concern has been and continues to be about Mr. Sheen’s health,” Weitzman added. Lorre was named in the lawsuit along with Men producer Warner Bros. Television, which is yet to comment on the complaint.

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