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Sebastian Maniscalco Set for Bookie Comedy at HBO Max From Chuck Lorre – The Hollywood Reporter

Warner Bros. Discovery’s most prolific showrunner has set his first show at HBO Max.

Comedy veteran Chuck Lorre — creator of CBS’ Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon, among others — has set up How to be a Bookie at HBO Max. The single-camera comedy is set to star Sebastian Maniscalco and has been picked up with an eight-episode, straight-to-series order.

Lorre and Nick Bakay will co-write the series and exec produce it alongside Maniscalco and Judi Marmel. Lorre and Bakay previously collaborated on CBS’ Mom, Big Bang Theory prequel Young Sheldon and Two and a Half Men. The comedy hails from Warner Bros. Television, Lorre’s longtime studio home, where he quietly re-upped his megadeal. Sources say Lorre specifically wrote Bookie for streaming, given the script’s subject matter, language, etc. HBO Max preemptively bought the show before it was taken out to other streamers.

“It’s an absolute dream to work with Sebastian Maniscalco — whom I’ve been a fan of for years. To have my first project at HBO Max with such an incredibly gifted comedian and alongside Nick Bakay is the trifecta. I can’t wait to get started,” Lorre said in a statement Tuesday.

How to be a Bookie revolves around a veteran bookie who struggles to survive the impending legalization of sports gambling, increasingly unstable clients, family, co-workers and a lifestyle that bounces him around every corner of Los Angeles, high and low.

“It’s very exciting to have the next comedy series from Chuck Lorre and Warner Bros. Television. We have been fans of Sebastian’s for several years and look forward to what these brilliant comedic voices put together for HBO Max,” said HBO Max CEO Casey Bloys.

Bookie becomes Lorre’s second show for streaming, following his Emmy-nominated Netflix dramedy The Kominsky Method, and his first for his home-base streamer. He currently has two comedies on CBS: Young Sheldon and Bob Hearts Abishola. Last season, he had a two-hour programming block of comedies on CBS, his longtime broadcast home, but saw multicams B Positive and United States of Al canceled after two seasons apiece.

“I’m thrilled that How to be a Bookie, from Chuck Lorre and Nick Bakay, and starring Sebastian Maniscalco, one of the greatest stand-up comics working today, is moving forward at HBO Max. This smart, subversive and hilarious series will be the next great comedy on HBO Max, continuing the successful partnership between Warner Bros. Television and Chuck Lorre Productions,” said Warner Bros. TV Group chairman Channing Dungey.

For his part, Maniscalco recently appeared in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman and Green Book. He next stars in and wrote Lionsgate’s semiautobiographical comedy About My Father, which reunites him with Robert De Niro, and appears opposite Ray Romano in the feature Somewhere in Queens. He’ll also voice the character of Spike in Universal’s Mario video game adaption. He previously hosted Discovery+ food show Well Done With Sebastian Maniscalco. As a stand-up comedian, Maniscalco has sold out shows in arenas in the U.S. In 2018, he debuted the best-selling memoir Stay Hungry and followed that up with a Netflix comedy special of the same name a year later.

“It’s an incredible honor to be working with someone of Chuck’s pedigree and along with Nick Bakay. They’ve put together a truly remarkable script. And now to be in the family with Warner Bros. Television and HBO Max, who are putting out some of the most compelling stories on TV and streaming, I just couldn’t be more excited,” Maniscalco said.

In addition to his previous collaborations with Lorre, Bakay is a writer, actor, comedian and sportscaster who famously voiced the role of Salem the talking cat on the original Sabrina the Teenage Witch. He wrote for and produced Kevin James vehicle King of Queens and reunited with the star for the Paul Blart features. He has penned op-eds for ESPN, including “Just Living the Dream,” the original NFL bad beats gambling segment on SportsCenter.

Lorre is repped by UTA. Maniscalco is with UTA, Levity Live and Yorn Levine. Bakay is with APA and Yorn Levine.

A premiere date has not yet been determined.

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