FX announced late Thursday that Charlie Sheen, sacked star of “Two and a Half Men,” will return to sitcom TV on its lineup in the summer of 2012.
The basic cable network — and home of “Two and a Half Men” reruns — has ordered 10 episodes of “Anger Management,” loosely based on the 2003 flick of same name, with Sheen taking the Jack Nicholson role in the film.
Also looking to make a comeback on this project: Bruce Helford, the once super-hot show-runner, maybe best known for doing “The Drew Carey Show.”
Also with a hand in this hot project: Joe Roth, whose Revolution Studios made the film.
FX acknowledged that, in striking the deal, it has agreed to the producers’ so-called Debmar-Mercury model.
It goes like this.
1) FX buys10 episodes
2) Episodes achieve agreed-upon ratings threshold
3) FX on the hook for additional 90 episodes. Period.
It’s the same model Debmar-Mercury, the company behind Sheen’s new show, employed when it sold those Tyler Perry comedies to TBS. This way, Debmar-Mercury piles up 100 episodes a whole lot faster than if the show was sold using the traditional broadcast model, or cable model. Which, practically speaking, means Debmar- Mercury only has make sure Sheen stays at Sober Valley Lodge for a whole lot less time than the years Warner Bros. TV faced when he was starring in “Men.” And 100 is the magic number of episodes you need to make a TV series a really viable product to sell hither and thither in syndication, etc.
Broadcast networks, in contrast, like to order a batch of 13 episodes on a new show, which may or may not make it to the network’s schedule. If the first few episodes do well, the network might give the series a “full-season order,” which usually means 24-ish for the season.
Then everyone waits to find out if the show will live to see another 13 or 24-ish episodes ordered. And so, the long TV season wears on.
Anyway, the model is why — though word got out earlier this month that everyone except CBS (duh) and TBS (corporate sibling of “Two and a Half Men” production company Warner Bros. TV, duh again ) had taken meetings with Sheen, Debmar-Mercury and D-M’s parent Lionsgate about the new comedy series — a broadcast TV home was always considered a long shot.
“We think that Bruce Helford, Joe Roth and Charlie Sheen have come up with a wonderful, hilarious vehicle for Charlie’s acting talents — and a character we are very much looking forward to seeing him play,” FX Network’s president John Landgraf said in Thursday’s announcement.
“‘Two and a Half Men’ has been an outstanding component of FX’s schedule for the past 14 months, and we have every confidence that ‘Anger Management’ will soon be as well.”
Photo gallery: Life and career of Charlie Sheen