In Chuck Lorre’s prolific career creating some of the most successful sitcoms in television history, wringing laughter amid the tears is a typical part of the experience.
Serious subject matters on shows such as Mom (familial alcoholism) and The Kominsky Method (aging, death) delivered gut punches of reality mixed with big laughs. On the other hand, shows like the massive hit The Big Bang Theory spun laughs out of quirky characters and comical situations with the occasional heartfelt moment.
His newest series, Bookie, co-created with Nick Bakay, leans into straight humor, and sees veteran Los Angeles sports bookie Danny (comic Sebastian Maniscalco) grappling with a changing industry. “Danny’s great at his job, which is quickly being made obsolete by online sports books,” explains executive producer Judi Marmel.
In his work, he’s exposed to a variety of clients. “All parts of L.A. are represented, from the very wealthy areas to the sketchy neighborhoods,” says Marmel, adding that, even in tougher scenarios, “Danny does not believe in violence of any kind. He sees himself as a businessman who provides a service.”
Danny’s home life includes wife Sandra (Ted Lasso’s Andrea Anders), a former Vegas cocktail waitress, and her troubled 11-year-old son, Anthony (Maxim Swinton). At his booking office is his manager and sister, Lorraine (Vanessa Ferlito, aka NCIS: New Orleans’ Gregorio), described by Marmel as “a hustler with no concerns about engaging in more serious crime.” And then there’s his business partner, Ray (Queen Sugar’s Omar J. Dorsey), a former NFL player who is now juggling three baby mamas.
If unconfirmed reports are true, we could see Charlie Sheen in a recurring role, which is a big deal given the star’s highly publicized firing from another of Lorre’s hits, Two and a Half Men, in 2011. Reunion or not, we’re betting Lorre can once again strike comedy gold.
Bookie, Series Premiere, November, Max
This is an excerpt from TV Guide Magazine’s 2023 Fall Preview issue. For more first looks at fall’s new shows, pick up the issue, on newsstands now.