Image Credit: Greg Gayne/CBSIt’s becoming clear why Charlie Sheen reportedly offered to pay only one-third of the crew’s salaries on Two and A Half Men while he’s undergoing treatment: Bankrolling 300-some workers doesn’t come cheap.
EW has learned that it costs anywhere from $300,000 to $400,000 per episode to pay the camera operators, grips, set decorators, electricians, painters, costumers and crafts services folk who help produce an episode of Men each week. If the comedy remains dark for all of February, that could mean the loss of up four episodes. Even if Sheen only paid the one third he’s offered, he’d owe anywhere from $400,000 to $530,000.
Under the terms of his new two-year deal with Warner Bros. TV, Sheen earns roughly $1.2 million an episode — which, by the way, is approximately how much it would cost for him to cover the crew’s entire bill. (His spokesman did not respond to a request seeking comment). It remains unclear whether Warner Bros. TV and CBS will grant Sheen’s request to help split the bill for the out-of-work crew, who are considered freelancers. The studio is under no obligation to compensate the workers whenever Men is dark. It also shut down production to accommodate Sheen.
CBS has one more original of Men that it will air on Feb. 14.
If TV’s No. 1 comedy resumes production at the end of the month, there still may be time to complete most, if not all, of the eight episodes left in the studio’s obligation to CBS. So the crew won’t lose any money from the unplanned break, which began last Tuesday. Still, everything depends on whether Warner Bros. TV and creator/executive producer Chuck Lorre believe Sheen is ready to return — only they can decide when production resumes.