The stars came out Thursday night for Chuck Lorre. How many can you spot?

Bruce Miller, Sioux City Journal

LOS ANGELES | Four hit shows – four comedies – are a rarity in television these days so the folks at Warner Bros. decided to throw a bash Thursday night for producer Chuck Lorre, the man behind “Two and a Half Men,” “Mike and Molly, “The Big Bang Theory” and “Mom.”

Lining up the stars like MGM did back in its heyday, the studio gave Lorre one of those once-in-a-lifetime tributes that also included a renaming ceremony for the “Two and a Half Men” stage. Now, Stage 26 will bear the show’s name.

More important, those stars (Emmy-winning stars) were on hand to give Lorre plenty of credit.

The man’s shows work because they have humanity and dimension, said Anna Faris, the star of “Mom.” “I’m not written as a 38-year-old blonde woman. I’m written as a very dimensional person with a lot of problems. I’ve never gotten to experience that.”

Added Iowan Ashton Kutcher: “These shows work because they’re all built on these obscure, broken, beat-up, messed-up families that are just like yours.”

Don Reo, one of the shows’ writers said Lorre constantly puts their feet to the fire. He’ll say, “You can do better than this, this can be funnier. That’s a constant. We hear his voice even when he’s not in the room.”

Lee Aronsohn, one of Lorre’s right-hand men, said the producer has a vision for each of his shows. “We row the boat, but Chuck is hands-on on each of his shows.”

Jim Parsons, the star of “The Big Bang Theory,” said there’s a rhythm, too, to each of the shows. “It’s like, ‘We need the beat.’ One of the reasons that all of the shows repeat so well in syndication is because of the rhythm. You know what’s going to happen, you saw it three other times but it’s like a good pop song. It’s enjoyable to dance to again.”

Frequently, Holland Taylor said, Lorre will tackle writing problems head-on, even rewriting while the show is being taped. “It’s a writer-driven show and it’s writer-solved.”

Lorre said his expanding TV universe wouldn’t have been possible had “Two and a Half Men” not been a hit. Charlie Sheen, he said, was an important part of that success – even though he left the series several years ago, reportedly following disagreements with the producer and others.

A return has been hinted at for the finale. Lorre wouldn’t say if that would happen. Instead: “I think we’re going to have a finale that you’ll be very, very pleased with. And that’s all I’m going to say about it.”

Also in attendance Thursday: Emmy winners Melissa McCarthy, Allison Janney and Jon Cryer – three who won the trophies starring in those Lorre shows.


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