It’s been quite the year for “Two and a Half Men” EP Chuck Lorre. And it turns out when the whole Charlie Sheen brouhaha was emerging, Lorre was willing to take the hit.
“I offered to quit the show last winter,” Lorre tells TV Guide. “I said, ‘Listen, if for some reason I’m now the Antichrist I’m happy to leave. It’s not in my interest to stop the show, and I certainly don’t want to put all these people out of work. Keep going. Get another guy. Don’t stop on my account.”
He adds that the relationship between himself and Sheen became so toxic, certainly aided by Sheen’s wild barbs, that there was no room for reconciliation.
Lorre says he told Warner Bros and CBS, “I can’t work with a guy who has decided that he hates my guts.”
He then explains what factored into the ultimate decision regarding Lorre and Sheen’s fate as well as the future of the highly-rated sitcom.
“[The studio and network] chose to make a moral decision as opposed to a financial one,” Lorre says. “But people were really frightened that they were signing off on what could have had devastating consequences. This was not a game. This was drug addiction writ large. This was big-time cocaine and in his own words, an ‘epic drug run’ that could have ended with either his death or someone else’s.”
In the end, it appears they made the right decision. “Two and a Half Men” signed on Ashton Kutcher to play a new character, Walden Schmidt. The ratings have remained steady, if not slightly up, over Sheen’s final year with the show. And Lorre no longer has employees calling him “a little maggot.”
Perhaps that’s winning?