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The TV Column: Let the Charlie Sheen Backlash begin

Sheen has had roles in movies such as "The Wraith" and "Hot Shots!" and on television in "Two and a Half Men" and "Spin City," but lately his personal life has made headlines, because of marital problems and bouts with alcohol and drugs.

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 3, 2011; 9:57 PM

And so begins the Charlie Sheen Backlash.

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Charlie Sheen may be breaking world records with his tweeting, he may be attracting mondo ratings with the many interviews he's given on various TV and radio shows, but is he really, as he has suggested, "winning!" when it comes to the hearts and minds of Americans? Is he convincing the people who buy tickets to see his next movie, program their TV to watch his next TV project, and otherwise help him support his five children, two ex-wives and, who can forget, the goddesses?

Not so much.

According to new studies, conducted by marketing and consumer research companies HCD and Rasmussen Reports, Sheen's Scorched Earth Media Tour - in which he's been railing against his "Two and a Half Men" employers Warner Bros. TV and CBS - has backfired.

Hardly any of the 748 people HCD polled after Sheen's campaign erupted on ABC's "Good Morning America" were buying Sheen's cured-himself-of-substance-abuse-with-a-blink-of-an-eye gag.

About half of them said they don't even believe Sheen feels bad about the decision of the network and studio to cancel the show for the rest of this TV season - a decision they made after Sheen's wild rant on a syndicated radio show went viral.

About 60 percent of the poll participants said they thought Sheen was mentally ill after seeing him on "Good Morning America."

And more poll participants felt CBS and Warner Bros. had made the right decision to shutter the show after watching Sheen on "GMA" than felt that way before. And, just in case you're thinking they don't feel deeply invested in that question because they don't love the show: About 70 percent of them are regular viewers.

Meanwhile, over at Rasmussen Reports, more than 71 percent of 1,000 American adults polled had an "unfavorable impression" of Sheen.

Sheen, on the bright side, has become a Twitter sensation. Twitter declined to call him the fastest follower collector in its history - claiming the company doesn't track those things - but Guinness World Records has agreed to put him in its books under Fastest Time to Reach 1 million followers. Guinness says Sheen reached the 1-million mark in 25 hours and 17 minutes. On the other hand, Guinness did not have a previous record in that derby, so we're not sure how much weight this title carries.

Forbes reported that Sheen got his Twitter account verified so fast because it was brokered by the Internet startup Ad.ly, which works on celebrity social media endorsement deals.

Sheen tweeted his gratitude to his followers when he hit 1 million: "Thank you Twitter community for the warm reception & the followers that helped me get to 1M in 24 hours!!!"


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