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Why Charlie Sheen Must Return to 'Two and a Half Men'

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 7th 2010 1:03PM
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My colleague Danny seems to think that Warner Brothers and CBS should show Charlie Sheen the door and let him leave the series, even though the network and production company are committed to two more years of 'Two and a Half Men.' And my other fellow TV Squadder Jason has kiddingly suggested seven characters who could fill Sheen's shoes. Well, to paraphrase the words of Dan Aykroyd on 'Saturday Night Live,' they are both ignorant sluts!


Charlie Sheen must return to 'Two and a Half Men' for a variety of reasons, but the most important is simply this: MONEY. It's not about how much Sheen is looking to make. It's about how much Warner Brothers and CBS stand to lose if they let 'Two and a Half Men' go down the drain in its last two years.

The production company and the network are reaping huge rewards for 'Two and a Half Men,' and have for years. The sitcom anchors the Monday night sitcom line up. Look at the ratings; it's been the top dog, setting the pace for the others. Only a few times this season has 'The Big Bang Theory,' which follows 'Men,' surpassed it in the key 18-49 demographic.

Together, 'Two and a Half Men' and 'The Big Bang Theory' are a potent one-two punch from 9-10PM. If you wonder why '24' has struggled this season, in addition to growing tired, it was also up against CBS's Monday sitcom duo, as well as ABC's 'Dancing With The Stars.'

There's a lot to be said about the old adage that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. When something works that well in television, you don't muck it up. (Unless your Jeff Zucker and NBC, then you sabotage yourself at every turn!) Chuck Lorre's dynamic duo of 'Men' and 'Bang' must remain intact.

That means you pay Charlie Sheen and get him back to work next season. It will be a fresh start for him. All the problems will be behind him and the saga of Alan and Charlie Harper can continue. The idea that Charlie can be replaced from the comedy equation is naive. Anybody who regularly watches and has kept up with the show knows that like 'The Odd Couple' or even a sitcom like 'Mad About You,' the key to the success is the chemistry of the leads.

They are brothers. You can't eliminate Alan from Charlie's life, or vice versa, and keep the same dynamic. You couldn't break up the 'Friends' either, which is why in the end, those six stars were earning $1 million per episode. It made economic sense to keep them together and cough up the $6 million in star salaries because the production company -- Warners again -- and the network, would get it back in revenue.

Danny's complaint that stars pull this all the time is a salient one. But, ultimately, the big breadwinners are the creators, producers and network. We hear about what the star's demanding, but rarely do we know how much less that is than the people behind the scenes. Assuming that Charlie Sheen is wrong to negotiate for the max he can get is foolish. This might be his last great TV program and the last shot at a big payday. You got to get it while the getting is good.

So, here's what's going to happen. They are already in heavy negotiations and some reports have Charlie asking for $2 million per episode with WB/CBS offering $1.6. Some put the numbers lower, but no matter what the figures being bandied about, the bottom line is Charlie Sheen will be back and he'll have a significant raise. Forget about replacements -- real or fantastic -- the Harper beach house will now and forever be Charlie's sandbox. And a very plush one at that.

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14 Comments

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bigfan

two and a half men is the only show worth watching, and without charlie, it will be over

April 14 2010 at 10:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
litehousebeacon

That was Chevy Chase, not Dan Aykroyd.

April 08 2010 at 11:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jasmine

As much as I love Charlie, I really think he should leave his show. I feel very strongly that if he keeps going down the road he is going, he is going to be lost forever, both in his acting and personal life. I love him very much, as if he were my own father and I would gladly give up my place in heaven and let him take it only if that is the only way he can be saved. But in the end it's his call, no one else can save him except himself. God does not force anyone. It's up to each one of us to chose which road we are going to go down. But I hope and pray that Charlie ends up chooses the right one!!

April 08 2010 at 8:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
miki

Excuse me, that should have been 40m.

April 08 2010 at 1:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
miki

Charlie is at the bottom of my list of reasons to watch "2 1/2 Men". Let's face it. This sitcom has become very weary. 2 more years is about all it has, regardless of the lead actor. To allow Sheen to hold up CBS for such astonishing sums, with little assurance of his stability, is absurd by any standards.
I think it's time the networks take a stand against these exorbitant demands. Will they lose money and ratings? Some, no doubt. But the ratings are slipping anyway. Why waste 4m for another 2 years of an unstable lead. Writing him out is far easier than writing around his presumed absences.

April 08 2010 at 1:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan

I watch 2.5 men still, but it has gotten even more painful to watch lately. The kid is no longer funny because he's just another stupid teenager now and not a kid anymore. The show really just needs to die because it is already in that Married with Children, That 70s Show or even The Simpsons stage where the show has clearly run its path, but the network is keeping it alive because it still draws ratings and advertising revenue.

BTW, someone who gets paid to write should really know the difference between YOUR and YOU'RE. Seriously, we learn this stuff in elementary school, how is it so hard to use the correct word there? Your and You're are NOT the same word, they have different meanings.

April 08 2010 at 12:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
e3m88

let him go and then recast. if he wants more money just cut him... he will beg to be hired back.

April 08 2010 at 1:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rickie

I would prefer to see Charlie leave and never return. He has had enough chances. The rest of the cast can easily handle the show or they can replace his character. He is the least favorite person in the cast in my opinion.

April 07 2010 at 9:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rickie's comment
C JENSEN

You have to be kidding. Who will watch "one and a half men"? Charlie IS the show. The other cast members are important to the show but it is a show about Alan living in Charlies house. How would they even write him out? He just walks away and leaves Alan his condo? Sure.

April 14 2010 at 7:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sodapop

Charlie Sheen's character is the show. He's the Hardy of the Laural and Hardy. The Oscar of the Odd Couple. He's the antagonist. He is the one that creates the drama. Without him it would be "some gay guy and his son."

April 07 2010 at 4:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Christopher

Whether you like the show or not, it's not in obscurity at all. As was mentioned in the article, 2.5 men attracts a lot of viewers.

April 07 2010 at 4:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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