July 29, 2013 5:09pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Chuck Lorre on 'Mom': CBS' New Comedy Has Roots in 'Cybill,' 'Grace Under Fire'
Prolific producer Chuck Lorre is looking at CBS' freshman comedy Mom as a way to finish what he started with his previous female-driven comedies, Cybill and Grace Under Fire.
Speaking to reporters Monday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour, the EP behind Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and Mike & Molly told reporters that the Anna Faris vehicle is another attempt to get right what he didn't with CBS' Cybill Shepherd and ABC's Brett Butler vehicles.
Mom revolves around a newly sober single mom-turned-waitress (Scary Movie's Faris) as she tries to pull her life together in Napa Valley alongside her own mother (Allison Janney).
"Mom sprang from a desire on my part to finish something I tried on a couple of occasions and failed: to tell a story about a woman starting her life over again," Lorre said. "I tried it with Grace Under Fire and left that show after a year. I tried again with Cybill. This is a story that's very meaningful to me. It's about starting your life over again, repairing the damage that's been done."
Lorre exited Grace after one season following creative clashes with Butler and had conflicts with Shepherd on her series when the actress reportedly believed her co-stars were getting more attention than she was. Lorre acknowledged the offscreen battles when asked if he performed background checks on the Mom cast -- which also includes French Stewart, Matt Jones and Nate Corddry -- with a tongue-in-cheek "yes" and a smile.
"[The series] has nothing to do with me personally; it's about fixing mistakes in the past or repairing relationships and getting another start," Lorre noted.
While he declined to address how much time he would spend on Mom -- the series was created by Lorre and Two and a Half Men writers Eddie Gorodetsky and Gemma Baker -- he cited advice he received from the legendary Norman Lear just before he went to work on Big Bang Theory.
"You go where the fire is burning the brightest," Lorre recalled of Lear's advice. "You go and do what you can do where you're most needed. This is a brand new baby, and it requires a great deal of love and care."
As for what viewers can expect from subsequent Mom episodes, Lorre noted Justin Long will play a love interest for Faris' Christy, and Octavia Spencer will play a woman who has bigger problems than the waitress at the center of the comedy.
Mom premieres Monday, Sept. 23 at 9:30 p.m. on CBS.