HBO Max has given an eight-episode straight-to-series order to How To Be a Bookie, the first comedy for the streamer from one of Warner Bros. Television’s top showrunners, Chuck Lorre, co-creator/exec producer of HBO Max’s most watched off-network series, The Big Bang Theory. Actor-comedian Sebastian Maniscalco (The Irishman) is set to star in the single-camera series, which Lorre is co-writing with one of his close associates over the past decade, Nick Bakay. It is comedy king Lorre’s first sale since the start of the pandemic.
In How To Be a Bookiea veteran bookie (Maniscalco) 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 an absolute dream to work with Sebastian Maniscalco — whom I’ve been a fan of for years,” Lorre said. “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 and Bakay will serve as executive producers along with Maniscalco and Judi Marmel. Warner Bros. Television, where Lorre and his Chuck Lorre Productions are under an overall deal, is the studio.
“It’s very exciting to have the next comedy series from Chuck Lorre and Warner Bros. Television,” said Casey Bloys, Chairman and CEO, HBO and HBO Max Content. “We have been fans of Sebastian’s for several years and look forward to what these brilliant comedic voices put together for HBO Max.”
Lorre has been based at Warner Bros. Television for the past 22 years. This marks not only his first series for HBO Max, it is his first show for any outlet affiliated with WBTV. During his tenure at the studio to date, he has generated a number of broadcast hits — all on CBS — including The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men. He ventured into streaming with Disjointed and award-winning The Kominsky Methodboth of which were sold to Netflix before the launch of HBO Max.
“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,” Channing Dungey, Chairman, Warner Bros. Television Group, said. “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.”
Maniscalco played organized crime figure Joe Gallo opposite Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman and had a supporting role in Peter Farrelly’s Oscar-winning Green Book. He wrote and stars opposite De Niro in the upcoming semi-autobiographical comedy About My Father, distributed by Lionsgate. Hey co-stars in Ray Romano’s upcoming movie Somewhere in Queens, which premiered at Tribeca, and he voices Spike in Universal’s upcoming movie inspired by Nintendo’s Super Mario. Maniscalco, a top touring comedian, also has done a Netflix special, headlined a Discovery+ show, Well Done with Sebastian Maniscalcoand released a best-selling memoir, Stay Hungry.
“It’s an incredible honor to be working with someone of Chuck’s pedigree and along with Nick Bakay,” Maniscalco said. “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.”
Lorre has created, executive produced, or written more than 1,000 episodes of television in the past 30 years. Through his overall deal with WBTV, Lorre co-created the Emmy-nominated comedies The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men for CBS, and created the Emmy-nominated comedy The Kominsky Method for Netflix. He co-created and executive produces the current CBS comedies Young Sheldon and Bob♥Abishola. His prior WBTV series also include Mike & Molly, Mom, B Positiveand United States of Al for CBS. Before signing with WBTV in 2000, Lorre created hits Cybill, Dharma & Greg, and Grace Under Fireand also served as co-executive producer on roseanne.
Bakay is a writer, actor, comedian and sportscaster who first worked with Lorre on Two and a Half Men and, more recently, on Young Sheldon, Bob♥Abishola, The Kominsky Methodand mom. He was a writer-producer and the voice of Salem the talking cat on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and a writer-producer on Kevin James’ comedy series The King of Queens. Bakay and James then co-wrote the hit films Paul Blart: Mall Cop; the sequel, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2; and zookeeper. Bakay also created Comedy Central’s The Adventures of Baxter and McGuire.
Lorre is repped by UTA. Maniscalco is represented by UTA, Judi Marmel at Levity Live, and Yorn Levine. Bakay is repped by APA and Yorn Levine.