Unfortunately for CBS and the executives at Warner Bros. Television, Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen can’t seem to keep his mouth shut.
Rumors have been circulating regarding growing tensions between Men producer Chuck Lorre and Sheen on the Men set. This month, it reached its boiling point. Lorre, whose credits also include The Big Bang Theory and Dharma & Greg, ends each of his shows with a signature “vanity card” that is displayed briefly (about two seconds) after each episode. Lorre uses the cards as a short reflection, but he directed a card’s message toward Sheen in January and again in February:
Sheen has drawn plenty of recent media attention since his meltdown last October, when he was hospitalized after an alleged night of rough partying and heavy drinking in a New York hotel room with a porn star. Gossip site TMZ broke the story. People in the entertainment industry have since made note of Sheen’s reckless party-boy imagine, as recently as the Golden Globe Awards, where Ricky Gervais made a quip about the star: “It’s going to be a night of partying and heavy drinking. Or as Charlie Sheen calls it, breakfast.”
The last couple of days saw an explosion from the actor. Thursday, he appeared on a syndicated radio show with host Alex Jones, where he went off about showrunner Lorre. According to Deadline Hollywood, an insider claims that Sheen has had problems with Lorre for years, but that “Now, with all the drugs, he has has no filter and speaks what’s on his mind.”
CBS has announced they have shut down production on Men for the rest of the season, and Sheen will not get paid for the remaining four episodes. That’s bad news for Sheen, but devastating for the rest of the crew who are paid far less than $1.2 million an episode.
Shutting down production of Men was CBS and Warner Bros. response to Sheen’s outburst, and it’s a drastic one, as Men remains one of CBS’ highest rated shows. The written statement they’ve issued is as follows:
“Based on the totality of Charlie Sheen’s statements, conduct and condition, CBS and Warner Bros. Television have decided to discontinue production of Two and a Half Men for the remainder of the season.”
Lorre and Sheen remain gripped in battle. Latest developments from TMZ say Sheen wants $10 million for a tell-all memoir of happenings on set. Lorre seems content to remain quiet in hopes that Sheen will eventually shut up. Who is the biggest loser in this crisis? It doesn’t appear as though Sheen has any representation to offer public image control (though it seems like he isn’t interested in that at all based on his behavior). Does CBS as a brand suffer from the warring words of the creative powers that fuel one of their biggest hits? It will be interesting to see how this case plays out, as it is still unfolding.