I have to say, this surprises me a little. CBS and Warner Bros. have mutually decided to part ways with disgruntled and arguably disturbed actor Charlie Sheen. So Sheen has been fired from Two and a Half Men. Wow.
I really thought this was going to go one of two ways…either they would find a way to work something out and Sheen would be back on set and ready to go for next year’s TaaHM 2011-2012 premiere in the fall with maybe some more money for him but a possible moral clause built into the contract or they cancel the show outright. Firing him says to me they plan to go on without him and either bring in someone new as a whole new character or quite possibly recast the role.
I think it’s the right call and I’ll tell you why. By outright canceling it, the network will no longer make any additional money with the show. Granted they have already made a fortune with it and will continue to do so with all the syndication contacts it has secured. But it’s the #1 comedy on TV!! There is still plenty of money to be had and the networks don’t want to just walk away from that. Plus, you know the ratings for next year will, initially, be through the roof to see how this show does without Charlie. If the role is recast, people are going to want to see it. If the character is someone new, people are going to want to see it. If it’s just One and a Half Men, people are going to want to see it. Everyone will be tuning in next year!!! And if it works out to be a successful transition and the show is still #1 for a few more years…great for them. If it doesn’t do well and they need to cancel it after the 2011/2012 season, so be it. They were probably going to cancel it anyway with Sheen being out so what’s the difference? At least by trying to move on, you give the show, the cast, and the crew another shot at making it successful again. And think of all the advertising revenue they will be able to secure in those first few episodes next year!!! It really makes perfect sense.
Now which direction should they go in? Recast or new character? In one sense, Charlie’s lifestyle on the show is a HUGE part of the show and to lose that would be significant. It’s hard to envision TaaHM without the wise-cracking, womanizing, lush, whether it’s Sheen or someone else playing the part. On the other hand, shows have done it before and gone in a different direction. Who says TaaHM can’t do the same thing and bring in a new character to play off Jon Cryer’s stiff but oddly charming Alan Harper? My opinion (whatever that’s worth), don’t recast and introduce a new character. To recast a title character on a major hit show after 8 seasons must be a first. And I’m excluding soap operas here because that happens all the time in soapland. But has that ever happened on any show where one of the main characters is recast after such a long period of time? And I’m not talking replaced with a new character, I mean playing the same exact part with a new actor. I don’t think so. And I don’t think it should happen here.
I haven’t commented on the Charlie Sheen fiasco because quite frankly, enough people have been talking about it (including Sheen himself) that I didn’t feel the need to pile on. The one thing I will say is that I worry about Sheen. I know everyone is having fun at his expense and believe me, he has brought on the ridicule himself. I’m not denying he doesn’t deserve it with all his rambling and his goddesses and other nonsense. But besides all that, I am truly concerned for his health both physically and mentally. If anyone watched the 20/20 interview last Tuesday night, you got to see 2 interviews with Sheen…the 2011 interview and a 1999 interview he did with ABC just out of rehab. It was remarkable the different in demeanor and coherence. It was like I was watching 2 completely different people….but I wasn’t. In 1999, Sheen came across as cogent and genuinely remorseful. In 2011, he came across as delusional and almost manic. If you ever want to show your children what drugs can do to you, show them these 2 interviews. That is 12 years of drug and alcohol abuse with maybe a little psychological issues going on as well. It’s sad to see. And I worry about his kids. Don’t get me started on that because I will be here until tomorrow going off about his children.
In all seriousness, I hope Charlie Sheen gets the help he so desperately needs. Otherwise I worry that 5 years from now, the breaking news you are going to be hearing in regards to Charlie Sheen will be about his death instead of him being fired from a hit TV show!