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When should we expect a Melissa McCarthy exit from 'Mike & Molly'?

Melissa McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone attend

Melissa McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone attend the after-party for the world premiere of “Identity Thief” at the Mann Village Theatre Westwood in Los Angeles. (Feb. 4, 2013) (Credit: AP)

Set aside the Grammys for the moment, and the big winner of the weekend was one Melissa Ann McCarthy, a farmer's daughter, fearless stand-up, and now queen of the box office, whose “Identity Thief” had a nearly $37 million open, and which automatically sets in motion this question: How much longer will she be on TV?

It's the old Steve Carell law of physics -- get huge movie hit, must travel. McCarthy's “Mike & Molly” remains a solid top 10 performer for CBS (just under 11 million viewers in recent weeks) and with “How I Met Your Mother” leaving after next season, there is a network premium placed on performers like this.

So McCarthy, who's already had a few screen hits ("Bridesmaids"), has an especially busy season looming. With “Thief” a winner, she has “The Heat” with Sandra Bullock in the spring, and then -- maybe fall? -- the movie in which she has a personal stake in: “Tammy.” She co-wrote this one with her husband, Ben Falcone and it stars Shirley MacLaine.

A prediction: If this one is a winner, then McCarthy -- a big talent destined for much bigger things than a Chuck Lorre sitcom -- will most likely be moving along.

Tags: melissa mccarthy , identity thief , mike & molly , cbs

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