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Upfronts: CBS Entertainment chief Nina Tassler defends Charlie Sheen's lucrative new deal for 'Two and a Half Men' [Updated]

May 19, 2010 | 10:44 am

Charlie sheen

CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler on Wednesday defended “Two and a Half Men” star Charlie Sheen's lucrative new contract, saying the network was thrilled he was coming back to the show, despite the actor’s well-publicized personal travails.

In February, Sheen voluntarily checked into a rehabilitation facility, temporarily halting production of the sitcom. In July, Sheen is scheduled to go on trial in Colorado on domestic violence charges. The actor, who has pleaded not guilty, was charged with menacing, criminal mischief and assault after his wife told police he put a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her.

Nevertheless, earlier this week, Warner Bros. Television, which owns "Two and Half Men," extended Sheen’s contract for two more seasons at an estimated rate of $1.2 million per episode, making him one of the highest-paid actors in television.

At an annual media breakfast held to discuss the network’s new schedule, Tassler was pressed why CBS felt it was worth it to bring Sheen back.

“Because the show is called ‘Two. And. A. Half. Men,’” she replied, enunciating each word. “It’s not called ‘One and a Half.’ Because it is the show, his point of view. He’s a big star. We’re so thrilled to have him back. I think we value our stars and our actors. They brand the show. And he’s a huge part of it.” 

“Two and a Half Men" is the network’s highest-rated sitcom, and CBS plans to use it this fall to launch the new Chuck Lorre comedy, “Mike & Molly,” about a couple who meet at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.

[For the record at 11:45 a.m.: An earlier version of this post stated that Sheen had extended his deal with CBS; his contract is with Warner Bros. Television, which produces his show. It also stated an imprecise early report about Sheen's new salary.]

-- Matea Gold (Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/mateagold.) 

Photo: A scene from "Two and a Half Men." Credit: CBS 

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