CBS and Warner Bros. TV, which produces the series, released a joint statement late Thursday afternoon (Feb. 24). It reads: “Based on the totality of Charlie Sheen’s statements, conduct and condition, CBS and Warner Bros. Television have decided to discontinue production of ‘Two and a Half Men’ for the remainder of the season.”
The decision comes a few hours after Sheen — who was due to report back to set next week after some in-home rehab — ripped the show and co-creator Chuck Lorre in a radio interview. Among the choice soundbites from the interview on the “Alex Jones Show” was this one about Lorre:
“I embarrassed him in front of his children and the world by healing at a pace that his unevolved mind cannot process. Last I checked … I spent close to the last decade effortlessly and magically converting your tin cans into pure gold. And the gratitude I get is this charlatan chose not to do his job, which is to write. Clearly someone who believes he’s above the law.”
That was apparently in response to a recent Lorre vanity card in which he made a joke about Sheen, saying “If Charlie Sheen outlives me, I’m gonna be really pissed.” But the totality of the interview sounded as if Sheen was basically daring the “Men” powers that be to shut down the show. If so, he got his wish.
“Two and a Half Men” was scheduled to back into production next week following Sheen’s rehab and shoot four more episodes. The network and studio decision idles the show’s crew and other cast members — and, we have to think, makes the show’s long-term future more tenuous. CBS’ current contract with Warner Bros. runs through the 2011-12 season.
The show, which averages about 14.7 million viewers per week, is the most-watched comedy on TV. It ranks second among all scripted shows this season (behind “Modern Family” and tied with “Grey’s Anatomy”) in the adults 18-49 demographic.
CBS will likely continue with “Men” reruns at 9 p.m. on Mondays for the time being. The network has also ordered extra episodes of “Mike & Molly” and “Rules of Engagement” to help fill the gap.