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Posted at 2:42 PM ET, 01/14/2011

TV critics to CBS: Charlie Sheen is a brazen reprobate -- what are you doing about it?

By Lisa de Moraes

CBS is on orange alert over Charlie Sheen's partying ways, but his off-camera activities have not affected his job as star of the country's most popular comedy, CBS programming chief Nina Tassler told TV critics attending Winter TV Press Tour 2011.


Charlie Sheen of "Two and a Half Men" was a popular topic during CBS's day at press tour. (AP)

"We have a high level of concern - how could we not?" Tassler told TV critics when they got all Ladies of River City on her at Winter TV Press Tour 2011.

The knicker-knotted critics had jumped on Tassler right off the bat during her Q&A session, with urgent questions about the "Two and a Half Men"-star-on-bender-with-porn-star reports that have gripped the nation for weeks and months.

Sheen's been a godsend for the celebrity suck-up industry, providing TV shows like "Entertainment Tonight," Web sites like Deadline.com, and magazines like Us and People, with gobs of ongoing stories, about last summer's guilty plea to assaulting his wife in Aspen, Colorado, and re-arranging of a New York City hotel suite while partying with a porn star, and, of course, last weekend's partying in Las Vegas.

"I really didn't expect that question this morning, so I'm really taken by surprise," Tassler could not resist joking when she took the first Charlie Sheen Is A Brazen Reprobate question, which went like this: "How would you characterize the level of concern and what the network is doing to help him?"

"On a basic human level, there is concern -- this man is a father, he has children, he has a family. Obviously there's concern on a personal level," Tassler said.

"But you can't look at simplistically," she added.

Too late.

"Charlie is a professional. He comes to work. He does his job extremely well... It's very complicated," Tassler continued, insisting she has "tremendous trust and respect" for the way Warner Bros, which produces the show, has been "managing the situation"

Warner Bros. is managing this situation?

"On a personal level we're concerned -- on a professional level, he does his job and he does it well and the show's a hit, and that's all I have to say. Next question."

You can see why TV critics are so concerned; this season, operating under the cloud of Sheen's shenanigans, "Two and a Half Men" has remained the country's most popular comedy series and the cornerstone of CBS's Monday schedule, growing its audience by 2 percent this season over last, and attracting around 15 million people each week.

By Lisa de Moraes  | January 14, 2011; 2:42 PM ET
Categories:  Winter TV Press Tour 2011  
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Comments

He's not making decisions as to whether we bomb another country or anything, so I could give less of a whit about his private life. I enjoy watching "Two and a Half Men," and I don't watch any TV show because it's peopled with exemplary citizens. I watch TV to be entertained.
Sterling Greenwood/AspenFreePress

Posted by: AspenFreePress | January 14, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Charlie surely has his problems but I would more likely refer to his conduct as more consistent with a reprobate not a rebrobate, whatever that is??

Posted by: ronseifert | January 15, 2011 12:09 AM | Report abuse

@AspenFreePress - well put!

Posted by: apn3206 | January 15, 2011 12:13 AM | Report abuse

ETAOIN SHRDLU lives!

Hint: Someone needs to get a handle on those pesky lower-case letters that look like each other: b, d, p, q.

Posted by: nan_lynn | January 15, 2011 12:19 AM | Report abuse

What a waste of time this column is!

Posted by: proteusdecision | January 15, 2011 1:13 AM | Report abuse

"You can see why TV critics are so concerned. . . "

Actually, I can't. I understand why CBS execs would be concerned, but not critics.

Posted by: loved1 | January 15, 2011 2:10 AM | Report abuse

His character on 2.5 men is also a "brazen reprobate". That's why he's good at it.

Posted by: antispy | January 15, 2011 2:11 AM | Report abuse

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