“The Big Bang Theory” is about to bid viewers a big farewell. And as is customary with any major hit, that raises questions about when — or whether — another network sitcom will blow up this way again.
Chuck Lorre, who co-created “The Big Bang Theory” with Bill Prady, has at times seemed like he’s single-handedly keeping the traditional multi-camera sitcom alive. In addition to producing “Two and a Half Men,” another huge hit for CBS, his credits include the returning “Mom,” as well as earlier shows like “Cybill” and “Dharma & Greg.”
More recently, however, Lorre has migrated into single-camera comedies, including the “Big Bang” spinoff “Young Sheldon” — already renewed by CBS for two more seasons — and “The Kominsky Method,” the Michael Douglas-Alan Arkin comedy for Netflix, which earned the producer a Golden Globe Award in January.
Despite his experimentation with a different form of storytelling, Lorre said he’s been around long enough to see the sitcom pronounced dead before — such as when “Friends” signed off 15 years ago — only to see it rise again. And he continues to operate in that realm.
“I’ve been doing this long enough to know I’ve heard the bold statement that ‘This is it. This won’t happen again’ many times,” he told CNN. “And it does. So humility would suggest that making a blanket statement, that this is the end, is probably foolish.”
Even in a streaming age, Lorre sees value in the format, which he has described as like producing a little play every week.
“I don’t see any reason to walk away from the four-camera show,” he said. “It’s a valid way to tell a story. When you’re at home watching television, you’re not counting cameras. You’re either entertained or you’re not.”