Entertainment Industry

Category: Chuck Lorre

CBS chief Leslie Moonves' favorite comedy is not on CBS

Leslie Moonves is CBS' chief executive.

CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves made a startling admission at the 36th Annual UCLA Entertainment Symposium on Saturday.

At the end of a wide-ranging question-and-answer session, prominent entertainment attorney Ken Ziffren asked the television titan to name his favorite television comedy.

"Modern Family," Moonves said.  

The Emmy-winning sitcom, created by Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd, has become a colossal hit for ABC. The show, now television's top-rated comedy, is produced by another rival, 20th Century Fox Television -- not CBS'  production studio. 

It would hardly be news if any other entertainment CEO said he liked a competitor's program, but this was Moonves. He has been CBS' most ardent cheerleader for more than 15 years, and he has changed the names of several business units in his corporate stable so they would be branded CBS. 

Moonves immediately knew he would take flak.

"I'm going to get in big trouble with Chuck Lorre next week," Moonves said, referring to the prolific producer who has helped build CBS' comedy blocks into some of the most profitable half-hours in all of television with his shows "Two and a Half Men," "The Big Bang Theory" and most recently "Mike & Molly."

Ziffren noted that "Big Bang Theory" (produced by Warner Bros. Television), which airs on CBS on Thursday nights, is beating the once-invincible Fox Broadcasting singing competition "American Idol" in the ratings.

"Look, 'Idol' is still a monster show, I wish that I had it, but it's not what it used to be," Moonves said.

For the record, Moonves said his two favorite dramas on television were "The Good Wife" on CBS and "Homeland" on Showtime, which is owned by CBS. 

"And they are both mine," he said.

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Photo: CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves in April 2011 at the National Assn. of Broadcasters convention. Credit: Julie Jacobson / Associated Press

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

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

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.

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