Tune in Tonight: Max streams Chuck Lorre’s ‘Bookie’

Prolific sitcom producer Chuck Lorre returns with “Bookie,” a sitcom streaming on Max. A man whose production credits date back to the 1990s (“Grace Under Fire”) and who has found large audiences with “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory,” he has pretty much defined TV comedy for a generation.

“Bookie” stars Sebastian Maniscalco as Danny, a beleaguered thug tasked with collecting debts from hapless sports gamblers. He’s aided in these grim efforts by Ray (Omar Dorsey, “The Blind Side”). In addition to his standup specials, Maniscalco has appeared in “The Green Book” and “The Irishman.”

As “Bookie” unfolds, these mooks and heavies have to adjust to a world where sports gambling, once the province of the underworld, has gone legit.

Not unlike other series inspired by “The Sopranos,” “Bookie” juxtaposes the dark comedy of the low life with domestic antics and the strong women such as Sandra (Andrea Anders) who are behind not-so-made men.

At the risk of burying the lede here, “Bookie” provides the reunion and perhaps reconciliation between producer Lorre and his former star Charlie Sheen, who plays a gambler.

Anyone paying even scant attention to television in 2011 may recall that Sheen was fired from his rather lucrative gig on “Two and a Half Men” for erratic behavior on and off the set and a series of negative and abrasive comments about Lorre that crossed the line into anti-Semitism.

Lorre, who has worked themes of substance abuse, recovery and making amends into his series, most notably “Mom,” appears to have put hard feelings aside to work once again with Sheen.

In other Lorre news, the “Big Bang” prequel “Young Sheldon” will end its seventh and final season in May of 2024.

Any Lorre sitcom has the potential to become a hit, but to date, he has been associated with the broad appeal of network television. The arrival of “Bookie” on Max offers yet another opportunity to ponder the identity and direction of that streaming platform, which has blended HBO and Discovery in ways few can understand.

— Ed Helms and Jennifer Garner star as a couple trying desperately to stay connected with their children as they grow older and more distant. A casual encounter with a fortune teller results in a cosmic change just in time for the holidays in the 2023 family comedy fantasy “Family Switch,” streaming on Netflix.

Also on Netflix, the new action-comedy series “Obliterated” follows a tactical squad that appears to be the only thing protecting Las Vegas from utter destruction — not to mention the end of the world.


— A holiday tradition since 1966, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (8 p.m., NBC, TV-G) features narration by Boris Karloff

— “The Golden Bachelor” (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) wraps up its first season of looking for love among the Medicare-eligible.

— A busy Bostonian decides to embrace the small-town life in the 2019 romance “Christmas Town” (8 p.m., Hallmark, TV-G).

— The Cowboys host the Seahawks on Thursday Night Football (8:15 p.m.), streaming exclusively on Prime Video.

— The voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas animate the 2007 CGI special “Shrek the Halls” (8:30 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).

— Anger wells up at a working dinner on “Transplant” (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).

— Contestants emerge from their respective hot tubs for the penultimate rose ceremony on “Bachelor in Paradise” (9 p.m., ABC, TV-14).


Playing a joyless Soviet agent beguiled by the luxuries of Paris and the love of a good man (Melvyn Douglas), Greta Garbo spoofs her aloof screen image in the 1939 comedy “Ninotchka” (4:15 p.m., TCM, TV-G), directed by Ernst Lubitsch. Arguably the greatest female star of the pre-World War II era, Garbo never made another movie after “Two Faced Woman” (1941).


Mandy proves surprising on “Young Sheldon” (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG) … “Hell’s Kitchen” (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14) … A search for experts on “Ghosts” (8:30 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG).

On two episodes of “Ghosts UK” (CBS, TV-PG): making good neighbors (9 p.m.); a tempting offer (9:30 p.m.) … “Lego Masters” (9 p.m., Fox, TV-G) … A terror threat unfolds against a ticking clock on “SEAL Team” (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14) … “Dateline” (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).


Barbra Streisand and Kelsey Grammer are booked on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” (11:35 p.m., CBS) … Sarah Silverman and Dwight Yoakam appear on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” (11:35 p.m., ABC) … Bobby Miyamoto, Erik Passoja, Jann Karam and Kenny Johnson appear on “Comics Unleashed With Byron Allen” (12:35 a.m., CBS, r).