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Deciphering the Charlie Sheen 'Two and a Half Men' Situation

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 2nd 2010 2:01PM
charlie_sheen_two_and_a_half_men_cbsIt was a shock to read yesterday that Charlie Sheen was reportedly not going to return to 'Two and a Half Men' next season. Could it be true that the star of CBS's top sitcom was ready to walk away from nearly a million bucks an episode because he was ready to "move on?"

Hmm... interesting. If Charlie is well enough to move on to other things, then why isn't he well enough to complete his run on 'Two and a Half Men?' Yes, the mixed signals are as difficult to read as smoke signals.

On one hand, if Charlie Sheen is really so damaged by his personal issues -- domestic upheaval, overzealous partying, the pre-emptive entry into rehab, the sober coach on set to counsel him during his return -- how would he be ready to move on? And if he can't work anymore even with all the help he's getting from the network and the production company, not to mention cast and crew and producers, could he do better elsewhere?

That makes many wonder if Charlie Sheen's simply negotiating for a bigger salary in his last seasons of 'Two and a Half Men.' It seems to me that when CBS re-upped 'Two and a Half Men' through the 2012 season, knowing that Sheen was only signed through the rest of this season, they were playing with fire. They put Sheen in a position where he could hold them over a barrel. And now he may be doing just that.

Perhaps he always planned to hold up CBS and Warner Brothers for more money and this pesky domestic drama and rehab stint have just muddied the waters? The problem is that, because of his flaws and the fact that he's made everyone else suffer this season because of his problems, threatening to not come back for the rest of the show's run makes him look heartless. Maybe that's exactly what he is, but does he really want the public to perceive him that way?

The fact is that stars play hard ball when it comes time to renew contracts all the time. Sheen happens to be in an enviable position, and even if you think he's feeling guilty about how his rehab has impacted on the show, he's still a professional, working actor and money is money. He can't really be replaced. Charlie Harper is Alan's brother and owns the beach house. He can't just be written out and replaced with another guy moving in.

The dynamic of the show is the two brothers and their living arrangement. If they did try to send Charlie away, letting Alan have the place to himself, it might still be funny, but not the same show. Cousin Oliver can't show up and take over Charlie's bedroom. It would be wrong. Remember when 'All in the Family' became 'Archie Bunker's Place?' Yes, not the same at all.

Right now, Charlie Sheen's agents and managers are likely advising him to get the most money he can because this is his final contract with the show. The cast of 'Friends' did it, getting a million dollars an episode for each of the stars in the end. For the last year of 'Everybody Loves Raymond,' Ray Romano got two million per. Hell, even Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt cleaned up when NBC was desperate for one last season of 'Mad About You.'

So if a week from now, you read about Charlie Sheen deciding to return to 'Two and a Half Men' after all, don't be surprised.

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Gregory Urbach

Maybe Tom Selleck is available to fill in?

April 07 2010 at 6:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tony DIMeo

If Charlie leaves the show it would be like when in the Scrubs spinoff without Zach Braff as the lead it would feel like something's missing

April 03 2010 at 7:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's all a negotiating ploy. I'm sure he will be back--probably at $1.25M per episode plus 5 pts. They are making a killing in syndication right now and it's all about making that a good package.

But if Sheen doesn't come back, a great replacement would be Emilio Estevez.

April 03 2010 at 10:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

He's either asking for more money or (remember the day the news was posted) it's an April Fool's prank.

April 03 2010 at 10:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lincoln Paradox

Why not see is Emilio Estavez is free?

April 03 2010 at 1:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Remember when 'All in the Family' became 'Archie Bunker's Place?' Yes, not the same at all"

Allison this is a bad example. Archie Bunker's Place lasted 3 to 4 years on the air and the star of "All in the Family" Carrol O'Conner was still involved with the show.

Laverne & Shirley would've been a better example because once Shirley left the show it was never the same and it was eventually cancelled.

April 02 2010 at 11:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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