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Upfronts: Talks to keep Charlie Sheen on 'Two and a Half Men' head down to the wire

May 17, 2010 |  7:34 am

Getprev  The game of chicken between "Two and a Half Men" star Charlie Sheen and the show's producers is continuing with a self-imposed deadline for a deal just days away.

Sheen, the star of the CBS hit, is in negotiations with Warner Bros., which produces television's No. 1 comedy. CBS, which announces its fall lineup to advertisers Wednesday, wants a deal done before that.

People close to the talks say the current offer CBS has made to Sheen will not be revised. But others familiar with these sorts of showdowns note that -- with more than two full days before CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves and Entertainment President Nina Tassler walk out on the stage of New York's Carnegie Hall to hype their new shows -- anything can happen.

Sheen makes just under a million dollars per episode and is looking for a big increase to commit for another two seasons. Warner Bros., which is already reaping a fortune in rerun money, would like two more years worth of shows. Sheen is currently embroiled in a legal mess, facing criminal charges in connection with an alleged domestic-violence incident with his wife on Christmas Day of last year. He has pleaded not guilty.

What isn't likely to happen is CBS announcing that the show will return Wednesday without Sheen locked in. Although, in theory, Sheen could wrap up a deal anytime before production starts later this summer, CBS wants to know now whether he is coming back so it can set its fall schedule and sell advertising time for next season.

The show will not return if Sheen decides that he is indeed done with "Two and a Half Men." If it does return, don't be totally surprised if it moves to Wednesday night where CBS has for years wanted to have successful comedies.

-- Joe Flint

Photo:  Charlie SheenMark Ralson/AFP/Getty Images.

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