And he’ll be paid millions if it gets done: The actor, fired from his starring role on the CBS sitcom “Two and a Half Men” in March, is reportedly expected to receive about $25 million (Sheen had sued for $100 million) from the Hollywood studio. Warner Bros. and Sheen are finalizing a settlement that includes Sheen’s participation in profits from the show. In the expected deal, Lorre will pay nothing. Sheen in return will drop all of his legal claims.
The agreement would resolve one of the most talked about public brawls in television history. It started in January when Warner Bros. shut down production on the show so that Sheen, who has had a history of substance abuse issues, could seek treatment.
A few weeks later, Sheen declared himself ready to return to work. When Warner Bros. disagreed, the actor launched vitriolic PR offensive. He appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and NBC’s “Today,” on which he blasted Warner Bros. and “Two and a Half Men” co-creator Chuck Lorre with a litany of insults, including Jewish slurs.
Warner Bros. then decided to pull the plug on the rest of the show’s season and, soon after another Sheen attack (this time on the radio at WRDW-FM Philadelphia) on Lorre and Warner Bros., they fired him. His last deal with Warner Bros. was due to expire in May 2012.
When he was fired, Sheen was the highest-paid actor in television, pulling in $1.2 million per episode. Along with the eight episodes he didn’t make last season, he was under contract for 24 episodes for this season–he was set to make $38.4 million plus his cut of syndication dollars that the show generates. The Hollywood Reporter noted that because Warner Bros. has been withholding Sheen’s profit participation on Men from all seasons (even the work he did before he got nasty), the amount of the settlement will likely include the reinstatement of that revenue stream.
In a letter to Sheen’s attorney, Warner Bros. said he was fired because the actor was “engaged in dangerously self-destructive conduct and appears to be very ill” and was unable to perform at an acceptable level.
Sheen’s $100 million suit was for wrongful termination. He contended he was ready to get back to work on the show. A California Superior Court judge ruled that any dispute about the terms of Sheen’s contract with Warner Bros. had to go to arbitration.
After he was fired, Sheen went on a national tour (with mixed success) he dubbed the “Torpedo of Truth.” The tour was billed as comedy, but Sheen didn’t get as many laughs in many of the cities he visited that he probably thought.
He most recently made the interview circuit promoting the 9/19 Comedy Central roast and has backtracked on the comments he made about Warner Bros. and Lorre. On Sunday’s Emmys telecast he appeared and offered an apology to his former cast and studio for his behavior, wishing them the best.
Sheen has also struck a deal with Debmar-Mercury to star in a new TV show based on the 2003 Adam Sandler comedy “Anger Management.” The show is staffing up, but has not yet found a home on a network.
Meanwhile, the new season of “Men” with Ashton Kutcher premiered 9/19 to pretty good reviews.
RBR-TVBR observation: The legalese in the contract for cutting Sheen from the show wasn’t fully met. While he did get verbally abusive and acted in a bizarre fashion, he was found not to have drugs in his system. So the idea of drug abuse causing his behavior was unfounded – at least at the time of the firing. Meanwhile, it seems ridiculous that Warner Bros. is stuck paying so much out to someone it pretty much had no choice but to fire.