Les Moonves wants Charlie Sheen back on Two and a Half Men. I knew it! Sheen still pulls in attention, ratings, and has enough Alpha credibility, still, through the sheer number of followers on Twitter and his sold out shows, that even manifest mental illness can’t keep the potential audience away. Rumors have flown that Scot Baio, or Rob Lowe, would take over from Sheen. But like or not, on that particular show, Sheen is irreplaceable.
According to a source, Les Moonves was determined to bring the show back and was in discussions with Warner Bros. Television, which produces the show and which fired Sheen earlier this month, in an attempt to rebuild the numerous bridges burned between the ranting actor and the California-based program staff.
They included the “Men” co-creator and executive producer Chuck Lorre, who Sheen deemed a “contaminated little maggot” before hitting him with a $100 million lawsuit, and its staff, described by the former movie star as “trolls.”
“Moonves wants to get the show back on the air. He’s all for it,” the insider said. “He says certain people need to forget anything and everything Charlie’s done recently and just move on with the business at hand.”
The source added, “The core issue is, as he put it, the volatile relationship between Charlie Sheen and Chuck Lorre. He believes that if CBS and Warner Bros. TV honchos can find a way to get Chuck and Charlie to speak again, cooler heads will prevail.”
While Warner Bros TV may want to make Chuck Lorre happy, as he produces a number of their shows including “the Big Bang Theory,” Les Moonves has to deliver ratings. His Monday night schedule looks like junk, on toast, without Charlie Sheen. Rob Lowe or Scott Baio are not going to deliver viewers like Sheen will, even if Sheen is half-crazed most of the time. CBS affiliates are on the warpath, demanding something be done. If Sheen can be propped up by cranes, pills, and on-set doctors, for another two years or so, he will be.
Don’t be shocked if Warners and Chuck Lorre come to a parting of the ways. It has happened before. Lauren Graham, star of “Gilmore Girls” (yes, you are saying “who?”) got the show-runner and creator (one Amy Sherman-Palladino) fired because she did not like the creative direction of the show (a romance between her character and a beta male character, one she thought “unworthy.”) Kiefer Sutherland got “24″ creator and producer Joel Surnow fired, out of PC creative concerns. [Surnow wanted more conservative themes, Sutherland is quite liberal.] On TV, stars generally rule. People don’t tune into see producers. Replacing the actor who originally played “Darren” on “Bewitched” was nearly fifty years ago. In todays fragmented TV audience, a star is even more valuable.
Even if he’s a walking time bomb. Which Sheen is, undoubtedly. Don’t be surprised if Sheen ends up back on Two and A Half Men, and Lorre is given his walking papers. There’s a lot of money involved, I don’t see CBS continuing Two and A Half Men without Sheen. Warner Bros. TV must make Moonves happy. Moonves in turn must make shareholders, his bosses, and affiliates happy, which means ratings. Which means, Charlie Sheen. Sheen may be crazy. But he knows who has the most power, between him and Chuck Lorre. It’s not Lorre.