The first question CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler fielded Friday (Jan. 14) at the TV critics winter press tour was about “Two and a Half Men” star Charlie Sheen. The query surprised no one — including Tassler.
“Well, I really didn’t expect that question this morning,” she deadpanned.
Even though she had an answer at the ready, though, she didn’t just dismiss it. Tassler acknowledges that she’s concerned about the headline-grabbing nature of Sheen’s off-camera life — most recently a reported Las Vegas bender in the company of several porn actresses — but also that it hasn’t yet affected either his work on “Two and a Half Men” or the show’s standing in the ratings.
“Look, obviously, we’ve thought, and I personally have thought, a lot about this, and we have a high level of concern. How could we not?” she says. “But I have to speak to this personally first. On a very basic, human level, [I have] concern, of course. This man is a father. He’s got children. He has a family. So, obviously, there’s concern on a personal level.
“But you can’t look at it simplistically. Charlie is a professional. He comes to work. He does his job extremely well. We are taping tonight, and it’s — as I said, it’s very complicated, but we have a very good relationship with Warner Bros. [which produces ‘Men’]. I have a tremendous trust and respect in the way they are managing the situation. So on a personal level, obviously concerned. On a professional level, he does his job. He does it well. The show is a hit, and that’s really all I have to say.”
Tassler did take one more question about whether Sheen has been made aware of how the network feels about his behavior, but basically reiterated her earlier point.
“I don’t know what … personal information has been given to him, but he certainly knows how we feel,” Tassler says. “He knows the level of concern we have, and right now, the show continues to be as successful as it always is. Everybody is doing their job, and things are continuing as planned.”