The clock is ticking for 'Two and a Half Men' and Charlie Sheen
The Hollywood Reporter published an exclusive report Thursday that detailed a supposed plan by executive producer Chuck Lorre to bring back TV's No. 1 comedy -- minus Charlie Sheen, who was fired by Warner Bros. after months of erratic behavior and admitted drug abuse. This Lorre plan would involve beefing up the role of costar Jon Cryer and casting a as-yet-unnamed new character. According to the Reporter, "industry speculation" has it that "the show will almost certainly return."
But wait! Gossip site TMZ isn't so sure. Citing unnamed sources for its own exclusive, the site says there's a "50/50" chance the CBS sitcom won't come back at all. In fact, there aren't offers on the table for a replacement actor, TMZ says. What is known for sure is that Sheen won't be coming back.
But even that assumption isn't totally safe. Agents have been buzzing that bringing Sheen back remains at least a remote possibility, although it's unlikely Lorre and the actor would be able to work together as they did in the past.
So what does it all mean? Some sort of deal needs to be worked out in the next two weeks before CBS announces its new schedule to advertisers in New York. It's possible CBS could give the series a limited order of, say, 13 or 18 episodes rather than the full season of 24. And the comedy could go Sheen-less for the first few episodes and then ease in a new character later, which would buy even more time. Sources close to the situation hint of fluid circumstances that are changing by the minute.
But it's a safe bet the show will return in some form. Warner Bros. needs the extra episodes to fulfill its syndication commitments with local stations. And, of course, "Two and a Half Men" is a big hit. In the TV business, you just don't walk away from one of those. No matter what.
What do you think, Trackers? Should "Two and a Half Men" come back? And if it does, should Sheen come back too?
-- Scott Collins
Photo: Charlie Sheen in Toronto earlier this month. Credit: George Pimentel / Getty Images