Chuck Lorre, Nick Bakay Set HBO Max Comedy ‘How to Be a Bookie’ With Sebastian Maniscalco to Star

HBO Max has given a straight-to-series order to a new comedy series from Chuck Lorre and Nick Bakay with Sebastian Maniscalco set for the lead role, Variety has learned.

The single-camera show is titled “How to Be a Bookie.” HBO Max has given it an eight-episode order. Per the official logline, “A 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.”

Lorre and Bakay serve as co-writers and executive producers on the show. Maniscalco will executive produce in addition to starring, with Judi Marmel also executive producing. Warner Bros. Television is the studio. Chuck Lorre productions is currently under an overall deal at WBTV. The show marks Lorre’s first series at HBO Max.

“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.”

While this is Lorre’s first HBO Max show, it is not his first streaming show. The prolific producer previously created the Netflix series “The Kominsky Method,” with the show winning the Golden Globe for best comedy series in 2019. He also co-created the Netflix multi-cam comedy “Disjointed.” Outside of that, Lorre is known for creating or co-creating many hit broadcast shows. Those include “The Big Bang Theory,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Mom,” and the “Big Bang Theory” prequel “Young Sheldon” to name just a few.

Lorre is repped by UTA.

“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.”

Maniscalco is primarily known for his stand up comedy. His most recent stand up special, “Stay Hungry,” launched on Netflix in 2019. Maniscalco has also appeared in multiple acting roles, including playing “Crazy Joe” Gallo in Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” and Johnny Venere in the Oscar-winning film “Green Book.”

He is repped by UTA, Marmel at Levity Live, and Yorn Levine.

“It’s very exciting to have the next comedy series from Chuck Lorre and Warner Bros. Television,” said Casey Bloys, chairman and CEO of 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.”

Bakay is no stranger to the Lorre camp, having worked on Lorre’s shows like “The Kominsky Method,” “Mom,” “Young Sheldon,” and “Two and a Half Men” as a writer and producer. His other TV writing credits include “The King of Queens” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.”

He is repped by APA and Yorn Levine.

“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,” said Channing Dungey, chairman of Warner Bros. Television Group. “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.”

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