TV producer Chuck Lorre’s string of sitcom triumphs is unrivaled in recent memory, starting with “Roseanne” and running through current hits like “The Big Bang Theory” and “Two and a Half Men.”
So, too, are the problems associated with his sitcoms, something epitomized by the latest “Men” scandal.
The new “Men” imbroglio finds young star Angus T. Jones calling his own program “filthy” and pining to be freed from his contract. It comes on the heels of last year’s nuclear meltdown by show star Charlie Sheen, highlighted by his epic tantrums against Lorre.
This isn’t the TV producer’s only flirtation with sitcom in-fighting. Lorre served as a producer on the long-running “Roseanne,” a show as famous for its behind-the-scenes skirmishes as its ratings successes.
Barr fired Lorre from her sitcom, declaring he abused alcohol and needed to be let go. She attacked Lorre anew from her own blog after the Sheen escapade hit the tabloids.
I fired Chuck Lorre for being a big drunk on my show, and he went on to become one of tv’s most successful writers (about dick jokes).
The LA Times reports Lorre has been “open” about his struggles with addiction.
Off-screen drama also plagued Lorre’s “Grace Under Fire,” as star Brett Butler’s drug addiction and raging ego took its toll on the Emmy award winning series.
Certainly, it’s unfair to pin all the blame for these behind-the-scenes fracases on Lorre. Star egos can be delicate things, and even the most genial of TV producers could have struggled to contain Barr’s personality. It’s still odd that one of the medium’s most prolific producers has had such a skein of off-screen dramas on his watch.
Lorre’s own personality could be to blame. The uber-producer is known for his shows’ end credit “vanity cards.” The often humorous messages allow him to riff on any topic that comes to mind, from frustrations over the nuts and bolts of the TV industry to passive aggressive “tips” for his own network. Recently, he used the cards to blast Republicans, so it’s clear he doesn’t mind ruffling feathers as he sees fit.
It could be the key to his long-term success in such a competitive industry as well as a glimpse into why his shows occasionally inspire the wrong kinds of headlines.