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October 14, 2015

A Fired Charlie Sheen Is Not Winning This Round -- Chuck Lorre Is

by Maureen Ryan, posted Mar 7th 2011 7:00PM
As you've no doubt heard, Charlie Sheen has been fired once and for all from the hit sitcom 'Two and a Half Men.' So is it now called 'One and a Half Men'?

In all seriousness, it looks as though the show might continue, but without the infamous actor. Whatever happens going forward, it looks as though CBS and Warner Bros. Television, which makes the show, decided enough was enough, and that it was time to coddle a different ego.

Someone is winning here, and it's Chuck Lorre, the creator of 'Men.' It's certainly not Sheen.

Let's be honest: Who's going to want to hire Sheen for substantial film or TV commitments in future? Sure, a shlocky reality show is probably a given at this point, or maybe Sheen will keep doing his own "show" via Ustream. But the kind of paydays Sheen was making on 'Men' are probably a thing of the past (who'd insure him, for one thing?).

That may not matter to Sheen; he has enough money to keep him in drugs and hookers for another decade or two, if he lives that long.

But for CBS and WBTV, keeping Lorre happy is vital to their future financial health. After all, 'Big Bang Theory,' which he co-created, is a huge success for CBS, and 'Mike and Molly,' another Lorre show, is performing respectably. Of course, 'Men' is a cash cow for all parties (which makes me think it'll be back in the fall in some way, shape or form, and if they're going to replace Sheen, John Stamos, one rumored replacement, seems like a good fit).

There will no doubt be legal battles galore in future for all parties involved, and given that Sheen had one more year left on his contract, the wrangling over who owes what to whom will undoubtedly be fierce. But from a business perspective, if there's a settlement and Sheen has to be paid off, that sum will be small potatoes compared to the revenue streams Lorre's shows generate now -- and will generate in future -- for CBS and WBTV.

Sure, image control and fear for Sheen's health probably entered into the decision to fire Sheen, but the Lorre factor likely loomed larger than all those other concerns. The studio and network probably wanted to send a strong signal to Lorre, one of the few hitmakers in the business, that they want to work with him now and in the future. There's a huge upside to being in business with Lorre. There's no upside to being in business with the walking, talking, tweeting train wreck Sheen has become.

As David Carr of the New York Times so rightly pointed out last week, what got Sheen in hot water with his bosses a few weeks ago was not the fact that he has a history of violence toward women or that he took drugs by the truckload. No, what got him in big trouble was the fact that he'd said insulting things about Lorre, and he's continued to say those kinds of things in every form of media except skywriting. But Sheen will never create a hit show, the kind that will rake in hundreds of millions of dollars for years on end. Lorre has done that several times and could do that again. Hence today's not-unexpected decision by the people in business with him.

Speaking of drugs, the entire media circus surrounding Sheen just makes me sigh at this point. Sure, the jokes about tiger blood and the Sheen sketches and parodies can be a laugh, but in the end, the media and Sheen are like addicts who can't stop enabling each other. And yes, I'm part of the problem by writing about it. But I just want to point out that everyone who's interviewed Sheen has let him off the hook with way too many softball questions, and the stories about that pop up every few minutes don't have nearly the depth of Carr's cogent New York Times analysis or this GQ profile of the actor.

Most of what's being written about Sheen these days is ephemeral, and almost celebratory, which is odd. I get that a lot of what Sheen does is amusing. But I can't forget the sides to his behavior that are not amusing at all. It saddens me that so few observers of the Sheen furor can.

Well, whatever buzz Sheen and the media are creating for each other, it can't last forever. One of these days, the media will find a new chew toy to play with.

What will Sheen do when this circus dies down -- and he's out of a job?

Follow @MoRyan on Twitter.

Check out Sheen's most bizarre interviews from the past week:

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Bonju Patten

Liked your article. No matter what happens the only people who will continue to like Charlie Sheen are the wife beaters, the cheaters, drug and alcohol addicts and men who hate women. Gosh - that's the entire planet! My bad!

March 27 2011 at 8:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why do we allow celebrities to stay popular and continue to watch them even after they become blithering idiots? No one should hire Charlie, Lindsay, Chris Brown, etc...

Let's support smart, hard working celebrities like Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Ralph Feinnes, Vin Diesel, etc....

March 23 2011 at 3:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Can we please get over this selfish, spoiled, man-child. Why don't they just kill off his character, have an unknown brother come out of the woodwork and take "Charlies" place. Or it could be a friend from their past that Charlie leaves the house to instead of Alan. The show will be funnier without Charlie Sheen. He's a loser

March 23 2011 at 3:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A friend and I were chatting the Charlie Sheen thing today and we came up with this...Rose needs to kidnap Charie and lock him in her basement for a few seasons. They could just show the back of his head. I'm sure some actor would be more than willing to show the back of his head for less bucks than Sheen.
With creative writers, problem solved.

March 10 2011 at 2:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would love to see Dean Winters join the cast (Allstate "Mayhem" commercials).
Some of you will remember him from OZ. Check out Youtube. He is the kind
of actor that appeals to both sexes.

March 09 2011 at 6:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just replace him like they do on soaps. New actor, same name & character. If it's someone believable as a ladies' man (which to me Sheen never really was), then things will go on as planned...even better.

March 09 2011 at 4:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Here's my idea... let the Charlie Sheen character take a burnout trip around the world and just fade out of the cast... or maybe die tragically leaving a fat inheritance to his family..... Angus T. Jones will be 18 in October.... let him play a role influenced by his uncle charlie... party boy... then have him bring home a baby son that his one of his girlfriends dumped on him... leaving it to Jon Cryer and Conchata Ferrell's characters to raise... this idea will even reduce overhead and increase profit for the show... you don't have to pay a baby what you would have to pay a high profile actor like John Stamos... or whoever... redesign the show to better fit the title! Let Angus take the lead on debauchery for the cast.... I think he has the ability to pull it off!

March 09 2011 at 12:39 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Robert R Hodges

Charlie is just acting crazy. He is not (crazy as a Fox)and is acting like a spoiled kid. The real Charlie is playing the part in order to clear himself from attachment to his ex, and also CBS. So far the plan is working and Sheen has won the disapproval he has been seeking from his peers. He wants to expand his acting career by receiving offers from the other major companies looking for a man with Charlies ability and crowd pleasing facade.

March 09 2011 at 7:31 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Two and a Half Men had it's run got boring a year ago. Time to let it go.

March 09 2011 at 6:39 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Tough. It has been a good show all these years. We saw the half man grow up. Get a new half man, keep whats left and go on Don't lose the maid or lady neighbor.

March 09 2011 at 6:06 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

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