Just hours before CBS’s debut of its first Charlie Sheen-less season of hit sitcom “Two and a Half Men,” word broke out that a deal was being wrapped between the production company and the actor that would settle their multi-million dollar kerfuffle over his firing.
“There is no deal,” a Warner Bros. TV spokesman told The TV Column early Monday evening; he would not elaborate.
But some big fat clues, signaling to The Reporters Who Cover Television that a deal is imminent, have erupted in the past few days. Last week a surprisingly contrite and normal Sheen turned up on Jay Leno’s NBC late night show and said he would have fired himself too, were he Warner Bros. – which of course, he’s not. He gave a repeat peformance the next morning on NBC’s “Today” show.
And, just this past Sunday, Sheen made a “surprise” appearance as a presenter on Fox’s broadcast of the Primetime Emmy Awards, with a message for his former “Men” colleagues: “From the bottom of my heart I wish you nothing but the best for this upcoming season.”
And if that’s not a red flag that a deal is imminent, we don’t know red flags.
Anyway, the settlement on which final details are being worked out, is expected to restore to Sheen those payments for the cut of the show’s profits in repeats that he had been getting before he decided to sue Warner Bros. Naturally, the studio stopped making those payments when Sheen filed the suit, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
Sheen’s contract on the program had called for him to make about $2 million per episode, making him the best-paid actor working in TV. Of that $2 mil, about 1.2 million was his salary for his services as show star; most of the remaining money presumably represented his slice of the syndication pie.
The Charlie Sheen versus Warner Bros. fracas erupted way back in January when the studio shut down production, so Sheen, whose partying ways were among TMZ’s favorite ongoing sagas, could get treatment for substance abuse.
Just weeks later, Sheen insisted he was ready to get back to work.
Warner Bros. and show creator Chuck Lorre announced otherwise.
Sheen took to the airwaves and ranted loud, long and nasty.
The studio shut down the show for the rest of the year.
Sheen ratcheted up the rhetoric.
The studio sacked him because, it said basically, the guy was cockeyed.
Sheen filed his suit.
A California Superior Court judge decided the fracas had to go to arbitration because of the terms of his contract.
TMZ producers wept.
Sheen launched his “Torpedo of Truth” tour -- Washington was one of his stops.
More recently, the actor closed a deal with Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury, to star in a new comedy series loosely based on the “Anger Management” flick; that is being shopped around to networks and syndicators.
Naturally, interested parties want to know the star of the show can do the job for 100 episodes or so before signing on the dotted line.
So, Normal Sheen is unveiled to the viewing public on “Tonight,” “Today,” and the Emmys.