TV Column: Sheen keeps talking; CBS wishes he'd worked this hard 'for an Emmy'

By Lisa de Moraes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 1, 2011; 11:20 PM

Tuesday will be known as the day we heard from The Receiving End of Charlie Sheen's Scorched Earth Media Tour.

While Sheen continued to talk to pretty much any media outlet with a microphone - on Tuesday, he explained to Howard Stern that his "two goddesses" share a bedroom and that he has his pick of the litter each night, kind of like HBO's "Big Love," only without the separate houses - parties of the second part began massaging their side of the kerfuffle.

CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves, for instance, joshed to attendees at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco that Sheen is "on the air quite a bit these days," adding that he wished the thespian "would have worked this hard to promote himself for an Emmy."

The decision to halt production on "Two and a Half Men" - the country's most popular comedy series - is "short-term financially . . . actually a gainer for us," Moonves noted.

That's because eight fewer episodes this season means eight episodes for which CBS does not have to pay Warner Bros. Television, which makes the show.

On Monday, for instance, CBS ran a "Men" rerun, even though it's the tail end of the February sweep ratings derby. It was the evening's most-watched program.

"It is a show that repeats very well," Moonves noted happily, while conceding that "repeats obviously get somewhat less revenue than the originals."

Moonves said he did not know what was going to become of the show next season, but added: "I hope it's back - we'll see."

CBS, like the other broadcast networks, will unveil next season's prime-time plans to advertisers in mid-May.

CBS and Warner Bros. Television shut down production on "Two and a Half Men" on Jan. 28 when Sheen announced he was going to enter rehab at Charlie Sheen's House, Calif. Production had been scheduled to resume this past Monday, but the two companies instead announced late last week that they'd shut down the show for the rest of this season. That came after Sheen attacked show creator Chuck Lorre in a tirade on a syndicated radio show, which went viral.

On Monday, Sheen offered a non-apology to Lorre on ABC's "Good Morning America," saying: "I didn't know you were so sensitive. Sorry if I offended you. After you whaling on me for eight years, I thought you could take a few shots back. I didn't know you were going to take your little ball and go home and punish everyone in the process."

Warner Bros. Television has since announced that it will financially compensate the "Men" crew for four of the eight "lost" episodes. Sheen is taking credit for that.

Speaking of financial compensation, a law firm representing Sheen has dispatched a letter to Warner Bros. Television, regarding its decision to cancel those last eight episodes of "Men" that were to have been produced this season.

The announcement last week by Warner Bros. Television and CBS that the show was being shut down "based on the totality of Charlie Sheen's statements, conduct and condition" was "outrageous and in direct violation of our client's legal rights," Hollywood hotshot lawyer Martin Singer complained in the letter.

Sheen is entitled to be paid for the eight episodes and "intends to hold Warner Bros. fully accountable for the compensation owed on his contract and to hold Warner Bros. and CBS fully accountable for all the consequences of their actions," Singer wrote.

Meanwhile, Lorre, who seems to top Sheen's Things I Hate About "Two and a Half Men" List, is doing his talking on the screen.

At the end of Monday's episode of his new CBS comedy, "Mike & Molly," Lorre posted, for a nanosecond, one of his trademark vanity cards, on which was published the following:

"I understand that I'm under a lot of pressure to respond to certain statements made about me recently. The following are my uncensored thoughts. I hope this will put an end to any further speculation."

Here are Lorre's thoughts, uncensored:

"I believe that consciousness creates the illusion of individuation, the false feeling of being separate. In other words, I am aware, ergo I am alone. I further believe that this existential misunderstanding is the prime motivating force for the neurotic compulsion to blot out consciousness. This explains the paradox of our culture, which celebrates the ego while simultaneously promoting its evisceration with drugs and alcohol. It also clarifies our deep-seated fear of monolithic, one-minded systems like communism, religious fundamentalism, zombies and invaders from Mars. Each one is a dark echo of an oceanic state of unifying transcendence from which consciousness must, by nature, flee. The Fall from Grace is, in fact, a Sprint from Grace. Or perhaps, more accurately, 'Screw Grace, I am so outta here!' "


The vanity card triggered an outbreak of navel lint-picking among The Reporters Who Cover Television. Among their pressing questions:

l Is Lorre mocking Sheen's recent rambling interviews?

l Is it the show "Two and a Half Men" that's "so outta here"?

l Is Lorre mocking zombies?

l Is this what they mean by "existential"?

Meanwhile, the Web site The Wrap thought it was in for a nice little scoop when it ran into Lorre at a benefit for the Venice Family Clinic - that's Venice, Calif.

The Wrap asked Lorre whether he would continue "Men" without Sheen.

"Lorre was silent," The Wrap reported.

What did he think he would do, The Wrap asked Lorre.

"I don't know," Lorre responded.

Lorre returned to his dinner, The Wrap reported.

And what of Sheen's show castmates, at least one of whom Sheen has insisted was "behind me 100 percent" - he thought.

"No comment or statement at this time," "Men" co-star Jon Cryer's rep told The TV Column. So much for "behind me 100 percent."

And what of cleaning lady Berta, a.k.a. Conchata Ferrell?

"No, she has not, nor will she," said her rep, when asked whether Ferrell has had anything to say.

"I know she doesn't," the firm that represents Holland Taylor, who plays Sheen's mother, told The TV Column when asked whether she had a statement about the situation.

In other Charlie Sheen Scorched Earth Media Tour news: The actor created a Twitter account for himself Tuesday. When he hit 150,000 followers, he tweeted: "Winning..! Choose your vice," which was accompanied by a photo of himself posing with one of the blond "goddesses" who live with him. She's holding a Naked Juice bottle; he's holding a quart of Broguiere's Farm Fresh Dairy chocolate milk.

It took only two posts for Sheen to begin insulting Lorre on Twitter: "Just got invited to do the Nancy Grace show... I'd rather go on a long road trip with Chuck Lorre in a '75 Pacer...."

In short order, both "Nancy Grace" and Sheen's new bio line - "Unemployed Winner" - were among the top 10 trending topics on Twitter. Even ABC News senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper re-tweeted Sheen's Nancy Grace gag.

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