Chuck Lorre has built a mini-industry on the small screen based almost entirely on the traditional sitcom model, from The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, and Mom to the currently airing Bob (Hearts) Abishola. He occasionally changes up the mold for such projects as Netflix’s Emmy-winning The Kominsky Method (which reunited Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner) and CBS’ drama-tinged prequel Young Sheldon. Now, it sounds like he’ll be tapping into the latter vibe for his newest co-creation How to Be a Bookie, which marks his first original series directly for HBO Max, which serves as Big Bang’s current streaming home.
HBO Max ordered up eight episodes of the single-camera comedy, which will pair Chuck Lorre with a familiar colleague in Nick Bakay, a writer and producer on most of the aforementioned comedies, as well as voicing the cat Salem in the TGIF hit Sabrina the Teenage Witch. They’ll be co-writing the new series, as well as sharing executive producing duties along with the show’s central star, stand-up comedian Sebastian Maniscalco.
For How to Be a Bookie, Maniscalco will portray a longtime bookie in Los Angeles who deals with a wave of new struggles tied to the legalization of sports gambling across the country, on top of the same old struggles that come with disagreeable clients, family members, and co-workers. But it’s not as if he can sit around feeling sorry for himself, as the job takes him from one end of L.A. to the other, from penthouses to projects.
Sebastian Maniscalco and Chuck Lorre can both boast this being their first HBO Max series, and it’ll be the comedian’s first regular scripted TV role overall. He did take the lead for a project based somewhat on his own life back in 2016, with Tony Danza co-starring, but while that project never came to light as a series, it was morphed into a movie titled About My Father, with Robetrt De Niro taking on the role previously played by Danza.
Outside of his on-stage work, the entertainer has led his own streaming series in the form of Discovery+’s Well Done with Sebastian Maniscalco, which delivered its first season in 2021. On the feature side of things, he’ll appeared in Tag, Green Book, The Irishman, and Somewhere in Queens in recent years, with future projects including The Super Mario Bros. Film (in which he’ll play the Koopaling Spike), the biopic Spinning Gold, and the previously mentioned De Niro pic, which is currently in post-production.
With Young Sheldon now in its sixth season at CBS, Chuck Lorre is obviously as dependable a TV creator as there can be, when it comes to shows that stand the test of time, viewership-wise. While things have definitely been questionably up and down over at HBO Max thanks to behind-the-scenes changes affected by the Discovery merger, with quite a few projects getting cancelled and jettisoned off of the service, How to Be a Bookie is probably just the kind of lower-stakes, lower-budget project execs are looking for to balance all the DC superhero fare.
It’s not known just yet when How to Be a Bookie will be available for those with HBO Max subscriptions, but when it hits, it’ll be joining a lot of great comedies that are already streaming on the platform. Head to our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see what big shows are still coming up in the next few months.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.