Charlie Sheen heading back to "Two and a Half Men" at end of month
Warner Bros. TV will, in fact, resume production on "Two and a Half Men" at the end of this month, sources report.
This past Monday, you saw the last original episode that had been made before production was shut down. CBS ordered 24 episodes of its hit comedy for this TV season. That was episode No. 16.
Last month, after one of "Men" star Charlie Sheen's particularly spectacular binges, followed by a hospital visit, series creator Chuck Lorre, producing studio Warner Bros. TV and CBS issued a statement professing that "we are profoundly concerned for [Sheen's] health and well-being" and that they would therefore shut down production on the show "in support of" the actor's decision to enter the very exclusive Charlie Sheen Rehab Center, in Charlie Sheen's House, Calif.
Lucky for the network, the show -- in which Sheen plays a debauched jingle-writer who has a house on the beach in Malibu and whose chiropractor brother moves in with son in tow -- does very well in repeats. CBS will probably be able to wring about four more episodes out of the show if all goes well over the next several weeks -- our euphemism for "Charlie Sheen ratchets down the crazy."
So far, it hasn't been going well. Sheen seemed bored at the Charlie Sheen Rehab Center, apparently having no hobbies. So he called syndicated radio shows to fill the time. Twice this week alone, he's called in to the Dan Patrick Show to phone in the kind of comments that cause celebrity suck-up Web sites to clear their home pages to make room for display copy with photos.
On Valentine's Day, Sheen told Patrick that he's all better and ready to go back to work:
"I'm here. I'm ready... I heal really quickly but I also unravel pretty quickly -- get me right now!" he told Patrick, which is the most concise description of Sheen's work habits we've ever heard.
Only he also told Patrick that when he did that photo-op with members of the UCLA baseball team early this month -- you may have seen the blog post about his stirring anti-drug speech to the team -- what he really told them was:
"Stay away from the crack, which I think is pretty good advice, unless you can manage it socially. If you can manage it socially, then go for it. But not a lot of people can."
That pounding sound you heard was CBS and Warner Bros. TV press reps banging their heads against their office walls.
CBS's press department in particular has had a rough time of the Sheen situation - mostly because The Reporters Who Cover Television cannot decide what their position is on the Sheen Issue.
In January, at Winter TV Press Tour 2011, they excoriated CBS for not intervening and shipping Sheen off to dry out, or even firing Sheen, which would be tantamount to killing the show.
But when CBS and Warner Bros. announced that they were shutting down production, TRWCT excoriated CBS all over again -- for causing all those "Men" crew members' lost wages.
Then, someone noticed that on the final original episode this week, Lorre had written on the so-called Vanity Card that appears in each episode's final seconds, about how well he takes care of himself and "if Charlie Sheen outlives me, I'm gonna be really pissed."
The press excoriated Lorre for that:
"Jeers to Chuck Lorre for biting the hand that feeds him -- and his entire crew," screeched TV Guide.
" 'Two and a Half Men' boss jokes about Charlie Sheen possibly dying," scolded TVTattle - which technically is not accurate. What Lorre joked about was the inevitably of Sheen dying at some time, as will we all.
Sheen, on the other hand, loved it. Naturally, he called his new BFF, Patrick, to discuss:
"I took it as a huge compliment -- he basically wrote a brilliant little piece of literature and called me Superman!" Sheen said.
Lisa de Moraes
| February 16, 2011; 9:12 PM ET
Categories: TV News
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