Charlie Sheen: What 'Men' team can (and can't) do to help its biggest star

Michael Bezjian/

UPDATE (1/28): Charlie Sheen enters rehab; Two and a Half Men going on production hiatus

Whenever Charlie Sheen makes the kind of shocking headlines like he did on Thursday, the attention always turns to the home of — and the producers behind — Two and A Half Men and what role, if any, they should play in his recovery. The answer is a significant one, even though attempts made by CBS and Warner Bros. TV have apparently fallen on deaf ears.

Here’s what we know: Representatives from both companies have recently approached Sheen with offers to temporarily halt production so the actor/father can seek the help that he needs. (Sheen, who was rushed to the hospital Thursday after complaining of severe stomach pains, went home later that evening.) Clearly, both companies are looking to protect their investment: Averaging 14.7 million viewers, Men is the most-watched comedy on TV and commands well north of $200,000 per 30-second spot in advertising rates.  As for WBTV, the production company not only has a deal in place with CBS to deliver Men episodes through 2012, it recently closed a rich new syndication pact to deliver Men reruns to Tribune and Sinclair TV stations through 2021.

Then, there’s the 300-plus cast and crew members on the WBTV lot who rely on Men for their livelihoods.

Apparently, the studio developed a scenario in which it could deliver fewer episodes — or even do some without the actor — so he could address his health. Unfortunately, the 45-year-old actor declined the offer — and there’s not much CBS or WBTV can do as a result. Legally, the hands of the companies seem to be tied: As long as Sheen is showing up to work, learning his lines, and continuing to headline the sitcom, he’s not in breach of his contract that pays him well in excess of $1 million an episode, a key source informs EW.  So-called moral clauses in contracts are rare in TV, and one doesn’t exist in Sheen’s multi-million dollar deal, EW has confirmed.

It’s not clear what Sheen’s union can do, if anything, to lend a helping hand. A representative for the Screen Actors Guild declined to comment.

If Sheen were no longer available to make the show, Men would be history. “I don’t see Two and A Half Men going to One and A Half Men,” admits one insider.

Strangely, Sheen’s health and off-screen behavior never seems to hurt his top-rated show. Now in its eighth season, Two and Half Men remains TV’s No. 1 comedy and consistently wins its timeslot in the all-important 18-49 demographic. Though TMZ (which, like Entertainment Weekly, is a subsidiary of Time Warner) continues to crank out salacious headlines about Sheen’s sexual proclivities, many TV viewers remain blissfully unaware of his private antics. If they do know about them, they don’t seem to care: A recent Harris Poll lists Sheen as the sixth most popular TV actor, behind CBS star Mark Harmon (who’s No. 1) but ahead of David Letterman (who’s at No. 9).

Image Credit: Albert L. Ortega/PR Photos

And as some insiders note, Sheen only seems to get into trouble when he is not working. Thursday’s incident occurred during a scheduled hiatus of Men. The show is set to resume production on Tuesday and Sheen’s spokesman said he will be there.

Still, that doesn’t mean CBS and WBTV shouldn’t play a key role in helping to protect one of their most valuable assets. “There seem to be a lot of red flags blowing in the midst of a hurricane, but what those flags mean for Charlie Sheen is still open to interpretation,” says William C. Moyers, a vice president at Hazelden, the addiction treatment center in Minnesota. “The people who care most about Charlie — his family, his friends, his employer — at some point need to stick together and say enough is enough. But at the end of the day, only Charlie Sheen can take action and address whatever haunts him.”

More Charlie Sheen:

Charlie Sheen suffers ‘severe abdominal pains,’ rushed to hospital
by Lynette Rice

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by Gary Susman

Comments (215 total) Add your comment
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  • virgil

    one stupid f///////

    • Shellibelli

      the man cant even quit to save his own marriage for his wife and kids! I doubt he can do it for a tv show.

      • Sally in Chicago

        I don’t feel sorry for anyone who makes $1Mil – $2Mil an episode….UNREAL!

      • gag

        Who was it that said “Cocaine is God’s way of saying you have too much money”?

      • Juneau

        CBS won’t be inclined to do anything until their cash cow is dead – like Michael Jackson. Then where will they be?

      • madmenlost

        @gag — it was Robin Williams.

    • chase

      Trust me, Charlie needs help asap. If he doesn’t get it our lovely justice system will step in and make an example of him. From a drug sting to a DUI those are nightmares this guy doesn’t need.

  • virgil

    one stupid person

  • Adam

    They need to shut down production of Two and a Half Men until Charlie Sheen gets the help he needs, he might not even get the help but that would be best I think. I come onto this site n other sites like it and i expect to see headline Charlie Sheen dead at whatever age he is, the way it’s going, I’m afraid that is more of a possibility then ever.

    • heidi

      I HAVE SAID SO MANY TIMES ON DIFFERENT THREADS AND BLOGS THAT THE SHOW CAN SEND CHARLIE”S CHARACTER TO REHAB. THAT WAY HE CAN BE OFF WORK GETTING REHAB OF HIS OWN. it can be funny enough when they just talk about it and talk about his absence on the show. It seems to kill two birds with one stone.

      • Jen

        The article above mentioned that the producers offered to deliver episodes that would allow Charlie to seek the help he needs…and he refused. If someone refuses your help and their work is not suffering, as an employer there is not much you can do. Also, until someone decides they need help, you are just p****ing in the wind to send them to a rehab they are not ready for nor are willing to participate in.

      • Diane

        They should send his character to rehab and make Charlie Sheen act rehab out in a hospital like set. Episodes can revolve around Alan and the rest of the gang coming to visit. Rose can be a patient in rehab.

        Maybe that’s one way to get through Charlie Sheen’s think skull that he needs to stop killing himself

      • Gary

        With out Charlie playing on the show there is no show

    • Lisa S

      I do not thinkk they shoould stop the show, There are other actors on the show that may depend on the sitcom to support there familes, I just hope and Pray the Charlie gets the help he needs, If every show and movie were to shut down because of one actor and his bad boy reputation we would not have television show and movies to watch, all they need Is support and Prayers.

    • jeffrey sweeney

      You are a MORON. who the hell are You to think You know what is best for an actor who has done such a great job at his craft for so long. His personal life is his alone.

      • gag

        Great job? Sexist jokes and lying in bed with one woman after another? What kind of craft is that? and, p.s. his personal life is going to KILL him.

      • heidi

        Here’s the thing though Jeffrey – some of us actually care about the guy and don’t want him to die. I remember Robert Downey Junior saying that addiction got so bad it was like having a loaded gun put in his mouth with his finger on the trigger, and he liked the taste of the metal in his mouth. I think Charlie is there right now and he needs to hear a strong message that this is alot more than just having a good time. This is a death sentence and we are not okay to enable him by saying ‘oh, he can cope, he’s living a great life, lucky guy’… He’s going to die if he doesn’t stop. so we are not okay with it and are mad that he’s throwing away such a great life, and that he’s so selfish to not think about his four young children and older daughter, or his family, or the cast and crew. I’ve read now that he’s in rehab or on his way and I hope it IS voluntary and he gets sober. Until then I’m like many others who are speaking out about what he’s doing to himself.

      • Dani

        Sorry Jeffrey, his personal life stopped being his alone when he became a father to what, 5 offspring. When a person becomes a parent they should suck it up and become a responsible adult. As far as I’m concerned, if he didn’t have kids he could suck up that whole suitcase of coke until his head blew off. They can’t even cover up his haggard appearance on the show with makeup anymore. He’s even more of a pathetic loser than your average addict because he has so much opportunity to be a much better human being than he is.

    • Ameen

      I’m glad the Q&A brought out some of the is this desgin? questions and framing. I was listening to the topics and project descriptions of the lecture thinking to myself how does this relate at all to the desgin training I had in the early 90 s at CMU?! I don’t get it at all seems like a bunch of ethereal mumbo-jumbo. Interestingly, through the Q&A discussion it really started to gel that the process of social innovation desgin or desgining behavior rather than form , it’s not that different from the desgin processes we studies for product desgin . market research or educating yourself on a topic area as a common language or reference framework, ideation of exploring that framework for what is possible, divergent thinking for exploring what are the possibilities of solutions, and convergent thinking of evaluating and putting value to those possibilities Taking it a step further, this desgin approach cycles through the process in iterations once the desgin’ part is done and out in the world. I guess this relates to the point made that Transformation desgin is never completed. Society and behavior as a material is quite a mental stretch, but I guess there’s something to it. It’s hard to argue with the results. That’s what I got from the lecture.

  • Grubi

    I don’t understand how this show can be popular. For one thing, its not funny. But more importantly, I don’t know a single person who watches it. Where are all these viewers coming from?

    • lola

      Grubi…you must not be from the easter part of the mid west. Western PA and most of Ohio have been watching for quite some time. I’m with you though, not the greatest show ever made. I’m more inclined to think it’s the time…right after work and right before dinner (Eastern standard time), when there is nothing else on. Come home, turn on the tv to relax, and avoid the news because you just worked all day.

      • Allison

        Whoa! I’m in Western PA, and have been for the majority of my life, and no one I know watches this show either.
        A year or so ago, when “Men” came on right after the evening news, we forgot it came on and changed the channel as soon as we saw it, but I don’t know anyone who’s intentionally watched it.

      • Grubi

        Well I live in Northern Virginia. That might be too far east, I’m not sure. But Allison says she doesn’t know anyone who watches it either, so maybe the big ratings are just coming from one particular state. I can just picture the entire state of Nevada sitting down to watch Two and a Half Men together, lol.

      • nitegram

        Iola, I hope you’ve got a good DVR because unless you get home from work at 9 pm EST and eat dinner really late, you are not watching Two and a half Men when it is on in OHio. I watched this show for years, (DVR) and decided that sexual inuendos, alcoholism, extreme promiscuity, exploitation of women, and just plain shallowness, were really not FUNNY enough to waste my time or DVR.

      • Maddie

        I watched this TV show for years too, but now it’s basically the same thing over and over. I live in Nevada, and I know few people that actually watch it.

      • PrincessBride

        My in-laws evidently watch the show. I don’t – I’ve watched a few episodes and found nothing funny enough to bring me back. But I had to lay down the law when my in-laws were visiting and watched the show with my 7 and 10 year old children in the room! So not appropriate!

      • MrNiceGuy

        WTF difference does it make where you live? This show is a one-trick pony. They care nothing about Sheen, they have been enabling him for quite some time.

      • Jesse

        I’m in Louisiana, and no one I know watches it or talks about it either. GLEE? Yes. COMMUNITY? Yes. PARKS & REC? Yes. But not TWO AND A HALF MEN.

      • Doubt it

        @nitegram- To bad it took you “years” to realize what the show is about…

    • jay

      I love the show. What I don’t get is why people like you can’t understand that not everyone is like you.

      • Sally

        I can’t stand the show, but agree with you Jay! Not everyone is alike. And while I don’t know anyone who watches the show either, I don’t profess to think no one watches because I don’t know anyone.

      • Dan

        I used to watch the show weekly. It was a great companion piece to “Everybody Loves Raymond” and it was laugh-out-loud funny. The humor wasn’t as obviously low brow as it has been the last few years. It actually had intelligent writing during the first few years, now it feels like a bunch of frat boys are writing it (and I’m a former frat boy, but I’ve grown up). Now I seldom watch it. Too much of the same thing week after week and not as funny as it ued to be. Good luck Charlie! Hope that $1M per week buys lots of fun times, because you may wind up like River Phoenix, John Belushi or Chris Farley if you aren’t careful. Hope you and Denise have made arrangements for the kids to inherit your hard earned millions!

      • Bebe

        The comedy certainly HAS been low-brow for the past few seasons, Dan. You’re right about that. And it IS frat boy humor. Jon Cryer, in particular, comes off extremely silly when he’s reciting his lines. The writing is really juvenile these days.

    • Melanie

      I’m convinced they are the same people buying the Susan Boyle cds – I don’t know anyone who admits to owning those either but they sure sell enough of them.

      • Pat

        What a strange remark. I love Susan and am not ashamed to admit it to anyone. She’s amazing. I gave her CD to a few people for Christmas – if they don’t like her, they can regift it or give it to charity. However, I can’t stand Charlie Sheen and do not watch his show.

    • Pat

      It used to be one of my favorite shows and Charlie was one of my fav actors. But I stopped watching years ago because of CS – he’s an a-hole. One that is rewarded and will continue to be rewarded. Life’s not fair. It’s scary that so many people like him because of his antics (he’s so cool). Like the character he plays, he is such a role model – for idiots.

      • sportfanstitcher

        I agree! Charlie is out of control in real life and his character on the show is out of control also. I often wonder if he’s acting or just barely functioning in an alcohol and drug-induced stuper. This show should not be on in prime time. Shame on you CBS.

    • Zayrina

      I watch it and think it is a hoot. I am female btw.

    • Lisa

      It’s hysterical!!!

    • SIMONE

      I watch the show every day. I think its funny. However, Charlie does need help.

    • Mark

      I watch it. So does my Dad.

  • anne

    Who gives a r-a about Charlie Sheen? He’s a hedonistic jerk who chooses his poison. I’ve adored his father Martin Sheen ever since I saw him in Badlands and The Subject is Roses–whatta guy! How he produced this creep is beyond me.

    • heidi

      I am not so concerned for Sheen, but his four little children and his older daughter as well deserve and need their daddy sober. As a father he needs to stop pouting about being an adult who has responsibilities and just step up to the hard road that sucks at first BUT keeps him alive and able to parent, if nothing else.

  • R. Nills

    I don’t care about Sheen. He ought to be fired. He needs psychiatric intervention. But money rules.

    • DivaSoulSista

      Interventions only help a person who is ready to be helped and it doesn’t seem like Sheen is at that point yet. I hate to see what rock bottom will look like for him!

      • cynthia

        so so true.. miracles do happen though..hopefully he’ll be ready to surrender soon. Praying for him.

    • Ana

      If you read the above article you’d see that he has a contract and, as it is written, they have no just cause to fire him. They can choose to cancel the show but why put hundreds of people out of work unnecessarily just because of one person.

    • Orne

      i think that is a fantastic idea. Robin if you need any help with etsy just let me know! its time, in anhoetr month etsy will be selling for christmas so now is the time to get that going

    • Pierce

      thank for dropping this post. I am dleinitefy tired of struggling to find relevant and intelligent commentary on this subject. Everyone nowadays seem to go to extremes to either drive home their viewpoint or suggest that everybody else in the globe is wrong. cheers for your concise and relevant insight.

  • cbs cares


    • Miss Talk

      This time, Hollywood need to look over the Benjamins and save this father of four girls by firing his a%* !
      There are other celebrities with a cough*d-bag*cough bad boy image who can do the rounds and fill-in for Charlie while he’s sobering up somewhere: Jude Law, Dane Cook, Eddie Cibrian, Russell Brand. And Kanye. Heck, let’s add Mel Gibson in the mix. Shake it. Perfect. Problem solved.

  • Michael

    I feel so sad for the poor networks. They just can’t find a way to help poor Charlie.
    What a load of BS.
    Only stupid people who have no exposure to lawywers or contracts belive this nonsense.
    Contracts are broken all the time, and then the courts sort it out. The real truth is that Charlie is making them BIG money.
    They will happily let him die before they stop the show and risk Charlie getting pissed off and quitting. Corporations SUCK !!

  • Smitty

    Hey Mikey, if you had a job, you would probably be working for a “Corporations”. “Corporations” tend to keep you around as long as you’re adding value. The relationship is pretty basic. Try to grasp it dickhead.

  • Dave

    “So-called moral clauses in contracts are all but rare in TV” … What does this even mean? They may be rare, or almost non-existent, but “all but rare” is one of the most stupid phrases I’ve seen in a long time. Unless you’re all but retarded.

    • heidi

      Can’t they get any kind of medical proof that substance abuse (a briefcase of cocaine was brought to his house last night and the hookers there admitted he did cocaine all night – bricks of it)has caused his health issues? OF COURSE but no surprise the incident is downplayed, he just has a hernia. Yes I know its a hernia. I have one too and reflux and a problem with my gallbladder. My issue is genetic but These symptoms he reports of excruciating pain can also be from no lining in the stomach, bleeding ulcers, swelling and perforations in the abdominal area, and basically having a toxic liver. So they can say its a hernia which needs to be removed surgically, but there is alot they are either in denial about or are covering up for him. Maybe he’s starting the de-tox in the hospital. that’s my prayer.

    • Grubi

      I noticed this oddly worded sentence too, but chose not to comment on it. Your right that it doesn’t make sense though…

    • Sheen

      Lol!! Or all but a blogger.

  • heidi

    I don’t care that much for Charlie cause he’s a selfish pouting little boy who wants to live the most hedonistic life possible. He feels he’s untouchable.
    BUT he is really making me angry about neglecting his four young children and his older daughter. As a parent, he needs to grow up and go to rehab. He needs his network to fight for those children if for no other reason.

  • heidi

    sorry the last comment was similar to one I made earlier on this page – i thought it hadn’t sent so I re-wrote it.

    And can I say kudos to Denise Richards who has been by his side for the sake of their daughters. Say what you will about her, she’s doing her best to get back to the Charlie she fell in love with (and who had all the potential in the world) – just as a friend, mind you, but I appreciate her sticking close and supporting him emotionally.

    • jury’s out

      She fell in love with her idea of what he could be, not what he really was. Any woman who gets involved with someone like Charlie, much less has children by him is in denial because he will never be a normal family man.

      • Victoria

        Word. As a woman it’s so easy to fall for a guy and idealize him to match our expectations. But what we’re forgetting is u can never change somebody who doesn’t want to be changed. If the qualities u r looking for aren’t there in the first place, find somebody else closer to your expectations, because u can’t turn a frog into a prince for whatever it’s worth. Unless they experience some form of divine enlightenment and decide to change on their own conscientious behalf.

    • Dan

      I have never been a big fan of Denise Richards. As an actress she sucks! However, during every one of her interviews that I have seen/heard (even with Howard Stern on the day Charlie got into trouble in NYC last year) she has always been sincere about trying to help him and making sure their children are protected. I have much more respect for her as a mother and ex-wife than as an actress/model. Many others in Hollywood (and elsewhere) could learn a lesson in being supportive from Denise.

  • thomy

    honsetly, who cares? The dude likes to party (although maybe too much). What he does in his personal life is really no ones biz. It clearly hasnt affected his job performance as he is at work on time and they are still happy with the work he is doing. Let the guy live the way he wants!

    • jordanhunt2010

      Finally a comment that makes sense! I can tell most of the ppl on this site commenting on this site for one believes everything the media tells them and second want to tell the world how a man “should” live. this man makes it work on time and does his job! the rest has nothing to do with the rest of the world. if he was really harming anyone, i am more then sure the government and God will step in. we shouldnt be so quick to judge because their life like our lives is not an open book. Thanks for your comment, so far it is the only one that makes sense!

  • Me

    Media blows everything out of porportion..leave the guy alone..The show is still funny. It is certainly not going anywhere..

  • Mary Ott

    Mr. Sheen is an embarrassment to the industry and should be arrested for possession of cocaine via a drug sting.

    • Marcela

      Adria – From our first session with you in 2007 to this recnet session, I’ve always been impressed with your work. Beautiful simply beautiful. I’m very anxious and excited to see the rest.

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