The One Mike & Molly Cast Member Chuck Lorre Had To Fight CBS Over


Highlights

  • Chuck Lorre fought with CBS to cast Melissa McCarthy on ‘Mike & Molly,’ proving his belief in her talent.
  • Appearing on the show changed McCarthy’s career, leading her to win awards and star in successful films.
  • Lorre eventually reunited with ‘Mike & Molly’ star Billy Gardell for a new sitcom that received mixed reviews.


There’s no doubt that Chuck Lorre knows how to create a great sitcom! He’s been a writer for popular shows such as Rosseane and both created and produced many other popular sitcoms. With projects such as Two and a Half Men (2003-2015), The Big Bang Theory (2007-2019), Young Sheldon (2017-2024), and The Kominsky Method (2018-2021) under his name, it’s no surprise why he’s called the “King of Sitcoms.”

As a producer, Lorre has brought many great sitcoms to life, including Mike & Molly (2010-2016). Starring Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell, this heartfelt sitcom quickly gained popularity, with both critics and viewers loving the chemistry between the leading couple. But, believe it or not, the CBS didn’t want to cast McCarthy at first! If it wasn’t for Lorre, this sitcom would’ve had a very different cast.


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Chuck Lorre Fought With CBS Over Casting Melissa McCarthy On Mike & Molly

Mike & Molly cast before the show was canceled
Via: CBS

In 2009, CBS ordered a pilot of a new comedy called Mike & Molly, written by Mark Roberts and produced by none other than Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory creator Chuck Lorre. Casting for the show began in 2010, with Katy Mixon and Reno Wilson being the first actors cast in the series.

Shortly after, Billy Gardell was cast as the titular Mike and Swoosie Kurtz joined the series as Molly’s mother, Joyce. Finally, it came time to cast Molly. While Roberts and Lorre were set on having Melissa McCarthy join the cast, CBS had other plans.

“They didn’t want Melissa McCarthy on Mike & Molly,” Lorre told The Hollywood Reporter in 2019. “A year later, she did Bridesmaids and became a superstar. In casting, you’ve got to fight for what you believe in.”


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Luckily, this wasn’t the first time Lorre had to fight the network during a casting call.

“There was a lot of pushback when I was doing Two and a Half Men. They didn’t want Jon Cryer,” Lorre recalled of his biggest fight with a TV network. “He’d been in a series of pilots that didn’t get on the air — or, if they did, they got canceled — and he got pinned with that label, ‘show killer.’ ”

But just like he was able to get Jon Cryer on Two and a Half Men, Lorre managed to convince to give McCarthy a chance on the pilot for Mike & Molly, which ultimately ended up with her getting the role. As Lorre later recalled, this was something that was worth fighting for.

“I had my fists up because I had a vision. Even though they were sitcoms, maybe considered a bastard genre, I still wanted to do it well,” he explained. “There’s a lot of people telling you how to do it, especially when I got started. There were company executives, network executives, stars, managers of stars, husbands of stars, boyfriends of stars … everybody had an opinion. Why not fight for some autonomy?”


Appearing On Mike & Molly Changed Melissa McCarthy’s Career

Melissa McCarthy at the UK premiere of 'The Little Mermaid' at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square
Instar

Melissa McCarthy had a lot of credits under her name by the time she was cast in Mike & Molly. She’d made her first television appearance on the NBC comedy series Jenny, opposite her cousin Jenny McCarthy. She’d also had minor roles in movies such as Drowning Mona, Disney’s The Kid, Charlie’s Angels, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, and The Third Wheel. But her biggest role to date was that of Sookie St. James on The WB hit series Gilmore Girls.

Given that it was her first leading role, playing Molly on Mike & Molly greatly helped McCarthy’s career. A year after she booked this role, McCarthy got her big break starring the comedy Bridesmaids alongside Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, and Ellie Kemper.


She received plenty of critical acclaim and won several awards for her role in this film, including a Boston Society of Film Critics Award, a New York Film Critics Online Award for Best Supporting Actress, and an MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance. And in 2011, she won her first Primetime Emmy Award for her role on Mike & Molly.

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After the success of Mike & Molly, McCarthy went on to star in several commercially successful movies, including Identity Thief (2013), The Heat (2013), Tammy (2014), Spy (2015), and The Boss (2016). Plus, in 2018, she won her first Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of writer Lee Israel in the biographical film Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Chuck Lorre Reunited With A Mike & Molly Star For A New CBS Sitcom

Chuck Lorre,Folake Olowofoyeku,Billy Gardell,Gina Yashere,Al Higgins
Instar


Three years after the end of Mike & Molly, Chuck Lorre reunited with Billy Gardell (who played Mike) for the new CBS sitcom called Bob Hearts Abishola. This show follows Bob (Gardell), a man who falls for his Nigerian nurse (portrayed by Folake Olowofoyeku) after suffering a heart attack.

With mixed reviews and a 61% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, this is one of Lorre’s least successful sitcoms. While the fifth season of Bob Hearts Abishola premiered earlier this month, it was announced that this will be the series’ final season with the series finale set to air on May 13, 2024.



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