Entertainment Industry

Category: Charlie Sheen

CBS' Moonves: Political rancor boosts broadcast TV business

Leslie Moonves

CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves, a seasoned media politician, has long insisted that the broadcast TV business was far from dead. When others -- including Wall Street and some rivals -- were ready to stick a fork in it, Moonves would vigorously promote the vitality of the 60-year-old business.

Turns out Moonves was right.

The company's broadcast network's ratings are up this season compared with a year ago, and ad dollars are pouring in. Next year there may be even more reasons for Moonves to strut. CBS, with its huge portfolio of TV and radio stations, could rake in as much as $250 million of the estimated $2.4 billion that is expected to be generated by political campaigns across the country. 

"We can't wait for 2012. It's going to be a banner year for us," Moonves said Thursday during a question-and-answer session at a Hollywood Radio and Television Society luncheon at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. 

Moderator Brian Lowry, television critic and columnist for Variety, asked Moonves whether he had any qualms about how the political polarization of the nation -- and the expected flurry of divisive political commercials -- was helping the company's bottom line. 

Moonves was unapologetic. 

"Our system is our system," he said. "And sometimes the amount of tension coming out of Washington is a very good thing for our business."

In addition to the bounty of political dollars, CBS also is making millions of dollars more than in the past by licensing its programs to online services like Netflix. CBS and other TV broadcasters have carved out a lucrative revenue stream by charging cable and satellite operators for the right to carry their broadcast signals.

"The broadcast television model is better than it was five years ago," Moonves said. "I've heard this ever since I went into this business, that the broadcast business is dying. In every instance technology has been a friend of the content business." The great news, he added, is that "our business is about producing great content and selling it all over the place." 

One thing that could rain on Moonves' parade is the escalation of TV sports fees.  Soon CBS will have to negotiate a new rights package with the NFL. CBS can ill afford to pay the rates that ESPN has agreed to pay -- about $1.7 billion a year for pro football.

"The rights are getting a little out of proportion," Moonves said, without commenting directly on his outlook for the next round of NFL negotiations.

Next year, CBS will attempt another revamp of its long-languishing morning news franchise, "The Early Show." This week the network announced the introduction in January of Charlie Rose and Gayle King to help bring a more sober and hard-news bent to a program that has been accused of being frivolous and fluffy.

"To do a poor immitation of 'Good Morning America' or 'Today' is not the way to go," Moonves said, adding that he does not expect CBS News to be a major profit center. Instead, he said, it was an important part of being a broadcast network, adding: "The quality and the product is very important to me."

Moonves did not take the bait when Lowry asked whether he missed his longtime nemesis Jeff Zucker, who more than once when he was running NBC declared the broadcast TV business model dead.

"He is still hanging out there, somewhere, with Katie [Couric]," Moonves said. "I'm not going to comment on that, but I miss Warren [Littlefield] more," he said, referring to one of the architects of NBC's prime-time glory years during the 1990s.

Moonves also doesn't seem to miss Charlie Sheen on CBS' top-rated comedy "Two and a Half Men." After the actor's high-profile meltdown earlier this year, Warner Bros. Television, which produces the show, hired Ashton Kutcher to replace Sheen. The show's ratings are higher than last year, Moonves said.

"It was unfortunate," Moonves said of the Sheen drama. "I'm glad that is a chapter that is closed. It's not good when lawyers get involved in a television show. Kill all the lawyers, including my brother, who's in the room." Moonves' younger brother, Jon Moonves, is a prominent entertainment lawyer.

-- Meg James

Photo: CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves talking with Variety's Brian Lowry on Thursday at the Hollywood Radio and Television Society luncheon.  Credit: Chyna Photography / HRTS

Charlie Sheen and Warner Bros. near settlement

Sheen
Charlie Sheen and Warner Bros. are putting the finishing touches on a deal to end their legal battle.

Sheen, who had been in a fight with Warner Bros. over the studio's firing him from his starring role on the CBS hit sitcom "Two and a Half Men" last March, will get about $25 million to settle out of his contract, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The figure represents Sheen's participation in profits from the show.

A spokesman for Warner Bros. denied there is a settlement and declined to comment further. A spokesman for Sheen referred calls to the actor's lawyer, who couldn't be reached immediately.

The expected agreement, which is still being ironed out, would bring to an end one of the ugliest fights ever between a star and a studio. It started in January when Warner Bros. shut down production on "Two and a Half Men" so Sheen, who has had a history of substance abuse issues, could seek treatment. It was not the first time the studio had to stop production on the show because of worries about Sheen's well-being.

A few weeks later, Sheen declared himself ready to return to work and when Warner Bros. didn't agree, he went on a public-relations offensive. Appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America" and NBC's "Today," he blasted Warner Bros. and "Two and a Half Men" co-creator Chuck Lorre and boasted about his drug use, womanizing and rock 'n' roll lifestyle.

Warner Bros. decided after those appearances to pull the plug on the rest of the season of the show. After another attack by Sheen, the studio fired the actor because he was "engaged in dangerously self-destructive conduct" and unable to perform at an acceptable level.

Sheen sued Warner Bros. for $100 million for wrongful termination. A California Superior Court judge ruled that any dispute about the terms of Sheen's contract had to go to arbitration.

After he was fired, Sheen went on a national tour he dubbed the "Torpedo of Truth." Sheen used the show to boast of his lifestyle and occasionally mock his old job. During the first show of the tour in Detroit, he burned one of the shirts he had worn on "Two and a Half Men."

When he was fired from "Two and a Half Men," Sheen was the highest-paid actor in television, making $1.2 million per-episode. Besides the eight episodes he did not make last season, he was under contract for 24 episodes for this season meaning that he was set to make $38.4 million plus his participation in rerun money the show generates.

Sheen has spent the last few months trying to repair the damage to his reputation and land new work. He struck a deal with the production company Debmar-Mercury to star in a new television show based on the movie "Anger Management." The show is currently staffing up, but has not found a home on a broadcast or cable channel yet.

Over the past few days while promoting a roast of himself scheduled to air on Monday night on the cable channel Comedy Central, Sheen made a few television appearances seeming contrite and acknowledging he was out of control when he was let go by Warner Bros. He even told Jay Leno, host of NBC's "The Tonight Show" that he would have fired himself too. On Sunday night, he appeared on Fox's telecast of the Emmy Awards wishing the cast and crew of "Two and a Half Men" good luck. "From the bottom of my heart I wish you nothing but the best for this upcoming season."

The new season of "Two and a Half Men," with actor Ashton Kutcher joining the show in a starring role, is set to premiere Monday night. It is expected to generate big ratings as viewers check out to see how the program will carry on without Sheen.

RELATED:

Charlie Sheen fired from 'Two and a Half Men'

Warner Bros. airs its dirty laundry against Sheen

Charlie Sheen sues Warner Bros for $100 million

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Charlie Sheen at Sunday night's Emmy Awards. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Judge kicks Charlie Sheen suit against Warner Bros. and Chuck Lorre to arbitration

Charlie Sheen's fight to have a day in court just got a lot tougher.

A California Superior Court judge kicked Sheen's $100-million lawsuit against Warner Bros. and Chuck Lorre -- the studio and executive producer of "Two and a Half Men," the hit CBS situation comedy that the actor was fired from earlier this year -- back to arbitration.

SHEEN,jpg Sheen, who filed the suit after he was fired from the show in March, had been resisting arbitration as a means to settle his differences with the studio and Lorre even though his contract contains a clause stipulating that an arbitrator be used to resolve contract disputes.

Judge Allan Goodman, who heard arguments from both sides earlier this spring, ruled that the arbitration clause is valid. The arbitration process, which had started, but then was put on hold until the judge's ruling, will now resume. 

Warner Bros. said it was very pleased by the decision, and Lorre's lawyer Howard Weitzman said the court made the appropriate ruling.

Sheen's camp argued that it still has a chance to square off against Warner Bros. and Lorre in court. The actor's lawyer, Martin Singer of Lavely & Singer, said the ruling just means it is up to the arbitrator to decide whether this will go to court or not. He also accused Warner Bros. of delaying the matter because "they know they are going to have to pay millions of dollars to my client."

In the ruling, Goodman wrote that "arbitrability of the matters indicated, together with any defenses, is properly determined by the arbitrator." Singer will try to make the case to the arbitrator that this is a matter for the courts.

Warner Bros. fired Sheen, who had been getting a salary of $1.2 million per episode, from "Two and a Half Men" in March, saying he had become unable to perform with any reliability. Sheen has had numerous battles with substance abuse as well as run-ins with the law and accusations of being violent with women. Sheen's lifestyle had led to the show being shut down while he dealt with personal issues.

Sheen, who just prior to being dismissed had publicly bashed both the studio and Lorre on television and radio, countered with the suit, arguing that he was able to perform and Warner Bros. was violating his contract.

In May, Warner Bros. hired actor Ashton Kutcher to fill the void Sheen's exit will leave on what has been a hit show for CBS.

-- Joe Flint

RELATED:

Charlie Sheen gets day in court to argue for day in court

Lorre and Warner Bros. push to arbitrate battle with Sheen gains momentum

Fight between Sheen, Warner Bros. and Lorre sheds light on areas Hollywood prefers to keep dark

Photo: Charlie Sheen. Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP.

Charlie Sheen gets day in court to argue for day in court

Charlie Sheen's legal team will get to have a day in court to see whether it gets to have a day in court.

The actor, who was fired earlier this month from his starring role on the CBS hit "Two and a Half Men," has sued Warner Bros., which makes the show, and the program's executive producer, Chuck Lorre, claiming breach of contract. Warner Bros. and CBS fired Sheen after putting the show in hiatus so he could go to a rehab facility. However, a few weeks after that, Sheen started criticizing Lorre and others involved in the show both on radio and TV. After he was fired, he filed a $100-million suit in California Superior Court in Santa Monica.

Warner Bros. has argued that Sheen's contract calls for disputes to be settled in arbitration and has already begun a proceeding with the arbitration firm JAMS. Sheen's lawyer Martin Singer has been trying to put the brakes on arbitration so the fight can be played out in public.

On April 19, both sides will get to make their case. Judge Allan Goodman, who is handling Sheen's suit, set the date to hear from all sides and decide on Sheen's motion to stay the arbitration. News of the date was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.

While Singer is trying every legal road to block arbitration, Warner Bros. and Lorre's lawyer Howard Weitzman still have to file motions to make their case that the battle belongs behind closed doors and not in front of a jury.

But wouldn't a jury be so much more fun?

-- Joe Flint

Chuck Lorre and Warner Bros. push to arbitrate battle with Sheen gains momentum

While Charlie Sheen waits for a day in court, arbitration proceedings to sever his ties to Warner Bros., the studio that fired him from the hit CBS comedy "Two and a Half Men," are starting.

Last week, Sheen's legal team filed a breach of contract suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court seeking at least $100 million in damages from Warner Bros. and Chuck Lorre, the executive producer and co-creator of the CBS sitcom.

Warner Bros. has argued that, per Sheen's contract, the case belongs in arbitration, and JAMS, formerly known as Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services, has accepted the studio's request and is in search of an arbitrator to settle the dispute. Chuck Lorre's lawyer, Howard Weitzman, has also confirmed that JAMS has agreed to arbitrate the producer's battle with Sheen as well.

Sheen's lawyer, Martin Singer, is trying to resist arbitration in favor of a jury, a person familiar with the matter said.

Both Warner Bros. and Lorre will need to file motions with the Superior Court to get the suit referred to arbitration. Those motions are expected within the next two weeks.

In an email, Singer said wrote that the JAMS decision on Lorre and Warner  Bros. "has no impact on whether our lawsuit goes before the courts or is to be arbitrated." Ultimately, he added, "the decision as to whether our suit stays in court or is arbitrated is to be made by a judge."

The news of Lorre’s successful effort with JAMS was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.

-- Joe Flint

For the Record: This post was updated to include a response from Sheen's lawyer Martin Singer.

Fight between Charlie Sheen, Warner Bros. and Chuck Lorre sheds light on areas Hollywood prefers to keep dark

SHEENLORRE

The legal battle between Charlie Sheen and the makers of the hit television show “Two and a Half Men” has the potential to display the type of dirt that Hollywood prefers to keep swept under the rug.

Already, the skirmishing between Sheen and Warner Bros., which produces the comedy for CBS, has generated enough dirt to keep TMZ and the National Enquirer busy for weeks. Should the battle rage on, it might be Bloomberg and Forbes that become obsessed with the story as financial secrets behind one of the country’s most successful programs spill out.

“There is a lot that Charlie Sheen may believe is private and personal and all that would come out, as would the secret sauce of how Warner Bros. does its deals for one of the biggest hits on television,” said Jonathan E. Stern, a professor at USC's Gould School of Law.

After putting the show on hiatus while Sheen sought treatment for substance issues, Warner Bros. fired him earlier this week after enduring several weeks of attacks from him on both radio and television. Sheen also took aim at Chuck Lorre, the co-creator and executive producer of "Two and a Half Men" who often needled his star with snarky notes in the so-called vanity cards that run at the end of each episode of the show.

Warner Bros. is arguing that Sheen's hard living has taken a toll on the his ability to work. In the letter to Sheen's lawyer Martin Singer firing the actor, Warner Bros. said the actor was no longer able to perform at an acceptable level and that his"erratic behavior" and "declining condition" undermined the production of the show. The studio went on to say Sheen had "difficulty remembering his lines and hitting his marks" and that his behavior "created substantial tensions on the set."

Sheen's team fired back in a $100-million lawsuit filed Thursday in California Superior Court that he "performed his acting services flawlessly on episodes filmed" before he was terminated. The real problem, the suit said, is Lorre.

Lorre is described in Sheen's suit as an "800-pound gorilla" who has been "humiliating, harassing, and disparaging" Sheen for some time. Furthermore, Sheen's suit charges that Warner Bros. had no problem with Sheen's personal life until Sheen "deigned to criticize Lorre."

Sheen's suit also charges that Lorre is more interested in the two other shows -- "The Big Bang Theory" and "Mike and Molly" -- that he produces for CBS and wanted to shut down "Two and a Half Men." Lorre, the suit alleged, has a higher profit margin in those shows.

"The allegations in the complaint against Mr. Lorre are as recklessly false and unwarranted as Mr. Sheen’s rantings in the media," said Lorre's lawyer Howard Weitzman. "These accusations are simply imaginary."

Warner Bros., which declined to comment on the suit, has previously said it believes that its contract with Sheen calls for arbitration to resolve any disputes and will likely seek to block any efforts by Singer to have this matter play out in the courts.

Should the matter end up in front of a jury, Warner Bros. will have to prove that Sheen was unable to deliver in front of the camera.

"If he's missing work, showing up late, any sort of conduct that would simply frustrate the ability of them to make the programming, that will probably be the best argument," said Stern.

Sheen's camp will, among other things, try to show that Lorre's disdain for Sheen had reached such heights that he was willing to sabotage his own show and own financial interests to spite the star.

Of course, it's a long way from trading blows to a courtroom.

"My guess is it gets settled, almost everything does," predicted powerhouse entertainment lawyer Bert Fields.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Charlie Sheen and Chuck Lorre in happier times. Credit: Mark Ralston / Getty Images.

 

 

With Charlie Sheen gone, CBS and Warner Bros. need to decide fate of `Two and a Half Men'

TWOHALFMEN

With Charlie Sheen now history, CBS and Warner Bros. have to decide whether it is worth trying to bring back "Two and a Half Men" next season. 

The show, which stars Sheen as a rogue bachelor who likes to blow his money on liquor and ladies, is CBS' top-rated comedy. CBS' current deal with Warner Bros., which produces "Two and a Half Men," is set to expire at the end of next season.

Without "Two and a Half Men," CBS will have a big hole in its Monday night lineup while Warner Bros. could be looking at hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue from both the network's license fee for the show and rerun money from episodes that will go unmade.

If Sheen is replaced with another actor or the show decides to go forward with the rest of the cast, that would likely require CBS and Warner Bros. to rework their current deal for "Two and a Half Men." The deal CBS has with the studio defines Sheen as a "person of essence," according to people familiar with the contract.

CBS currently shells out about $4 million an episode for the show. Sheen's salary for the show is a little over $1 million an episode. He also gets a cut of rerun money, which brings his total take in his most recent deal to roughly $2 million an episode.

Even if the show continues with a new cast member or with the same cast minus Sheen, CBS would probably push to lower that price tag. Should Warner Bros. and CBS continue on without Sheen, it could also have implications for the reruns of the show that Warner Bros. has already sold to FX and TV stations around the country. Reruns for next season have already been sold, but if the episodes are made without Sheen then that could potentially give the buyers a chance to revisit the deal.

Shows have lost their stars and maintained their success. Sheen himself scored big when he replaced Michael J. Fox on the ABC hit "Spin City." More recently, "American Idol" has performed much better than expected despite the absence of Simon Cowell, who left as a judge of the singing competition. NBC hopes it will find a replacement for Steve Carell when he leaves "The Office" at the end of this season.

CBS and Warner Bros. have ties that go beyond this show. Warner Bros. also produces "The Big Bang Theory" and "Mike and Molly," both from "Two and a Half Men" co-creator Chuck Lorre. The two are also partners in the CW network.

That does not mean they are above sparring though. A little over two years ago, Warner Bros. sued CBS in a dispute over money the studio felt the network owed on "Two and a Half Men." The suit was eventually settled. 

Sheen's lawyer Marty Singer said in an interview that Warner Bros. position on the actor is "without merit" and that he plans to take legal action against the studio and Lorre as early as this week.

"We believe we will ultimately prevail," he said.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: "Two and a Half Men." Credit: Warner Bros. 

Warner Bros. airs its dirty laundry on Charlie Sheen

In its letter dismissing Charlie Sheen from the CBS show "Two and a Half Men," lawyers for Warner Bros. dumped out the company's basket of dirty laundry on the actor.

Sheen "has been engaged in dangerously self-destructive conduct and appears to be very ill," the letter from the firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP to attorney Marty Singer said. Sheen's condition "undermined the production in numerous and significant ways" and ultimately left Warner Bros., the producers of the hit sitcom, no choice but to pull the plug on the show and subsequently on himself.

SHEENWINNING "Warner Bros. would not, could not, and should not attempt to continue `business as usual' while Mr. Sheen destroys himself as the world watches," the letter said.

Sheen's camp leaked the letter to Singer to the gossip site TMZ, and its contents were subsequently confirmed by people familiar with the matter. Sheen told the site that his firing was good news.

The letter firing Sheen is the latest back-and-forth between the actor and Warner Bros., CBS and Chuck Lorre, the co-creator and executive producer of "Two and a Half Men." Production on the show was suspended for four episodes in January so Sheen could go to a rehabilitation facility after a series of incidents that included hospital trips and run-ins with the law. Sheen opted to be treated at home and soon declared himself ready to return to work.

Warner Bros., CBS and Lorre weren't buying Sheen's miracle cure and after the actor went on a media tour trashing all three, production for the entire season was suspended.

Sheen and his legal team have argued that Warner Bros. is in breach of his contract for ending production of this season, but the lawyers for Warner Bros. counter that it is the actor who has overstepped his bounds, not the studio.

Sheen's "self-destructive conduct resulted in his hospitalization, his inability to work at all for a period and the rapid erosion of the cooperative and creative process necessary to produce the show," the studio's lawyers said. Sheen is described as missing rehersals and not being prepared for filming. The letter goes on to say that Sheen's admitted drug use and "furnishing of cocaine" to others puts him in violation of his contract. "There is ample evidence supporting Warner Bros. reasonable good faith opinion that Mr. Sheen has committed felony offenses involving moral turpitude ... that have interfered with his ability to fully and completely render all material services required" under his contract.

Interestingly, the letter acknowledges that Warner Bros., CBS and Lorre were previously willing to overlook Sheen's various issues with the law and substance abuse to keep the show going.

"While it was not anywhere close to an ideal working situation, Warner Bros. and CBS as well as Mr. Lorre continued to make accommodations for the off-camera (yet very public) aspects of Mr. Sheen's life," the letter said, adding "at each step, Warner Bros. CBS and Mr. Lorre expressed their wholehearted support for Mr. Sheen and concern for his health and well-being."

That may give fuel to critics who say that Sheen's bosses were willing to look the other way when he got into legal scrapes and was accused of violence toward women including his wives, but got tough when he started trashing them.

Sheen's lawyer Marty Singer said Warner Bros. claims are without merit and that he expects to file a suit against the studio later this week.

RELATED:

Charlie Sheen fired from 'Two and a Half Men'

Charlie Sheen finds a new enabler: Mark Cuban

Photos: Memorable TV departures

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Charlie Sheen. Credit: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters.

For the record: This post was updated to include comment from Sheen's lawyer Martin Singer.

Charlie Sheen fired from 'Two and a Half Men'

TWOHALFMEN

Warner Bros. has fired Charlie Sheen from the hit CBS show "Two and a Half Men."

The move comes after several weeks of very public battling between the actor and CBS, Warner Bros. and "Two and a Half Men" co-creator Chuck Lorre.

In a statement, the studio said, “After careful consideration, Warner Bros. Television has terminated Charlie Sheen’s services on 'Two and a Half Men' effective immediately.”

Production on the show was stopped in late January after top executives from CBS and Warner Bros. confronted Sheen about his private life. Sheen has made no secret of embracing a sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle. Messy divorces, accusations of violence toward women and trips to rehab have been staples of his life for over two decades.

PHOTOS: Memorable TV departures

None of his personal life seemed to have any impact on his career. He is the highest paid actor in television, with a salary that reaches $2 million per episode when his portion of rerun money is included. Although production was also shut down last year because of Sheen's personal issues, CBS and Warner Bros. never publicly came out against that star.

That all changed last month when Sheen suddenly became very critical of Lorre, Warner Bros. and CBS. He made fun of Lorre, and CBS and Warner Bros. announced they were suspending production of the show for the rest of the season.

Sheen then retained Hollywood lawyer Marty Singer, who threatened to sue Warner Bros. if Sheen was not paid for the rest of his contract, which runs through next season.

Warner Bros. and CBS did not say if they would try to keep the show alive without Sheen. The deal CBS has for the program runs through next season and costs about $4 million per episode.

RELATED:

Charlie Sheen: 'I'm tired of pretending like I'm not special'

News outlets prove able enablers of Sheen's meltdown

Who needs 'Two and a Half Men' when you have Twitter?

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Jon Cryer, left, and Charlie Sheen on "Two and a Half Men." Credit: Greg Gayne / CBS

CBS Chief Leslie Moonves predicts strong upfront advertising season; mum on Charlie Sheen

CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves predicted that CBS would garner rate increases of at least  10% over last year's prices when the broadcast networks begin selling commercial time for the 2011 television season.

For the last few years, advertisers have refused to pay double-digit rate increases for TV time and the networks have bowed to their wishes. But speaking Monday morning at the Deutsche Bank Media and Telecom investor conference in Palm Beach, Fla., Moonves predicted the networks would have the leverage this year, and that CBS would be in a position to make substantial gains.

Moonves2011 That's because the advertising market has improved dramatically during the last year, and CBS once again has the most stable schedule of any of the four major broadcast networks.  

During the current TV season, which began in late September, advertisers who waited to buy their time have been paying rates at least 35% higher than those established last summer, when CBS sold the bulk of its inventory for the current season. Networks typically sell at least 75% of their advertising inventory during the so-called upfront sales season.  The leftover time is then sold piecemeal during the season in the "scatter" market, and that's where there has been significant price inflation.  

 "We're going into a very strong marketplace," Moonves said. "Advertising is back, and the climate is much stronger.  I would be very surprised if we took much inventory [to market] below double digits."

CBS' new shows have produced suitable ratings, and so when it puts together its new fall schedule, CBS' dilemma will be which shows to bring back.  

"We don't have very many holes in our schedule. There is not a lot that is going to be cancelled," Moonves said. "I wish we had another network to program."

Well, he does share the CW network with Warner Bros. and that small network could use a boost.

Moonves made it clear he wasn't interested in discussing whether CBS would be missing its No. 1 comedy, "Two and a Half Men," next season. Perhaps he was feeling burned by his comments at the Morgan Stanley investor conference last week, when he said he would like to see the return of the show's rogue star, Charlie Sheen. On Monday, Moonves told the conference audience: "We are not going to talk about "Two and A Half Men " -- yet."  CharlieSheenColo

Deutsche Bank media analyst Doug Mitchelson tried, however, when Moonves boasted that some of the network's cost-containment strategies involved killing off high-priced actors in prime-time shows.

"I wonder if you have successfully changed out a lead actor in a show before," Mitchelson asked.

Moonves cleared his throat -- twice. 

"OK, I'm sorry. I promised no Charlie Sheen questions," Mitchelson said.

Later, Moonves said there may be a few tweaks to the schedule. He described CBS' lineup as having something for everyone, with a slate of traditional dramas and "sort of traditional family comedies, and I'm not going any further than that," Moonves said.

"Well, there are some good messages in there for kids, one way or another, with those shows," Mitchelson said.

Said Moonves: "Yeah."

-- Meg James 

Photos, from top: CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves. Credit: Evan Agostini / Associated Press. Charlie Sheen. Credit: Ed Andrieski / Associated Press

 

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