Apparently lost in the massive Sony e-mail hack that wreaked havoc on Hollywood last winter: this e-mail sent to several Sony Pictures Television executives in March 2014:
“I think I will win the 90/10 bet on the over under on this … it’s hard to to be a drug addict and be HIV positive and do 40 eps a year.”
Included was a link to a TV Week article about how Charlie Sheen was a no-show on the set of his FX series “Anger Management,” and crew members were so frustrated they were threatening to quit.
The hacked e-mail amounts to a tasteless joke by an executive, saying that he didn’t expect Sheen to reach the 100-episode mark that would send “Anger Management” into syndication (and create a lucrative windfall for all involved). The 90/10 refers to the “Anger Management” deal that said if 10 episodes did well in the ratings, FX would pick up 90 more. As a reminder, Sheen landed the series, which aired from June 2012 to December 2014, after he imploded and was fired from CBS’s “Two and a Half Men.” The conventional wisdom at the time was that Sheen, known for erratic behavior, would be able to hold it together for 100 “Anger Management” episodes shot in just a couple years. (The show filmed exactly 100 episodes.)
The e-mail indicates that Sheen’s HIV diagnosis was no secret to some in the entertainment industry. And while Sheen’s announcement that he is HIV-positive (and his claims that he spent $10 million trying to keep it quiet) was a huge story this week, a passing reference to the news was out there for two years for anyone to see, be it publications that initially pored over the documents or anyone who dug into the Wikileaks Sony hack page. And yet the story was never revealed.
This bit of information gives some context to what Sheen and Matt Lauer talked about when discussing his future career prospects at the end of his “Today” show interview. Sheen’s confident attitude makes sense given that his diagnosis was already known in certain circles.
“Let me ask you about working and your career,” Lauer said. “You had a show canceled a couple years ago. You are, I imagine in need of working again … how do you think this revelation might impact your status or standing in Hollywood?”
“As we speak, I have the chairman of Sony excited about doing a show again,” Sheen said. “I have a couple of films lined up that I could, you know, put start dates on. There’s a lot of people that we’ve even told that I’m going to do this [interview] before I came on — privately, of course — and they said, ‘Well, of course… he’s still the best guy for the job.’ ”
“And so thus far,” Sheen concluded, “there’s been no resistance.”