’Men’ crew to be paid; Sheen calls it ’a start’
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Warner Bros. Television agreed Monday to pay the crew of “Two and a Half Men” for half of the eight episodes of TV’s top-rated comedy that were canceled by producers upset about the off-screen antics of star Charlie Sheen.
The troubled star called the agreement a “start” in his escalating battle against the show’s producers.
“Clearly my efforts are paying off,” Sheen said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. “I won’t sleep until I get all eight.”
Warner Bros. last week canceled the remaining episodes of this season of “Men,” citing Sheen’s public behavior and negative comments about executive producer Chuck Lorre.
The troubled actor dominated the entertainment media Monday with threats of a lawsuit, two riveting morning show interviews and a rambling live stream on an Internet website.
By midday, his veteran publicist had quit.
In Sheen’s interviews with ABC’s “Good Morning America” and NBC’s “Today” show, he boasted about his “epic” partying, said he’s fueled by “violent hatred” of his bosses, claimed to have kicked drugs at home in his “Sober Valley Lodge” and demanded $3 million an episode to return to work.
Come evening, he popped up on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” in a live appearance — airing opposite “Men” in some time zones — and waffled on whether he was serious about that pay raise.
“I was joking about being underpaid. But to come back for Season 10,” he added, looking beyond his current two-year contract, “that’s all negotiable. You can’t talk about this stuff on television.”
Those expecting Sheen to go silent at some point will likely be disappointed. Cameras crews were seen throughout the afternoon entering the gated community where Sheen lives.
“The more he does, the more insane he looks,” said Michele Cohen, a technical editor from Cary, N.C., an occasional viewer of the CBS sitcom who has been watching the offstage drama with interest.
Warner Bros. spokesman Paul McGuire confirmed the crew payments but denied that Sheen’s war of words against the studio and series producers prompted the move. “False,” McGuire said of Sheen’s claim of credit.
Sheen said he’s not concerned with his own sizable paychecks at the moment, which are reportedly worth $1.8 million per episode. “I don’t care about me right now,” he told the AP.
Asked about reimbursements for fellow series actors Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones, Sheen said, “They’re next.”
Sheen’s dueling interview with morning news shows managed to upstage the post-show buzz for the Oscars.
However, what may be amusement for fans is serious business in Hollywood. There’s a strong likelihood that “Two and a Half Men” will never be back, putting fellow cast and crew members out of work and costing producers Warner Bros. Television tens of millions of dollars.
“I’m supposed to be out there all humble and asking for my job,” Sheen said during an interview at his home with Mike Walters that was streamed live on TMZ.com. “No, I don’t do that. I don’t understand what I did wrong except live a life that everyone is jealous of.”
Sheen’s publicist, Stan Rosenfield, resigned shortly after the TMZ interview. Rosenfield has been with Sheen through three hospitalizations in three months related to the star’s wild behavior.
In the interview, Sheen implied that Rosenfield had lied to the media by saying he had been hospitalized for an allergic reaction after trashing a room in New York’s Plaza Hotel.
“I have worked with Charlie Sheen for a long time and I care about him very much,” Rosenfield said in a statement. “However, at this time, I’m unable to work effectively as his publicist and have respectfully resigned.”
Both the ABC and NBC morning shows carried excerpts of Sheen interviews conducted over the weekend, and promised more on Tuesday. ABC aired the interview excerpts before even wrapping up the Academy Awards results.
The New York Post’s front page blared: “Sue & a Half Men,” with Oscar coverage a mere side of the page.
Sheen told NBC interviewer Jeff Rossen that he’s spent years trying to be the “nice guy” on his show and get along with everybody, and now that’s over.
“I’m tired of pretending I’m not special,” he said. “I’m tired of pretending I’m not a total bitchin’ rock star from Mars.”
Rossen appeared startled when Sheen said he wanted to be paid $3 million an episode to return to the show. He’s already one of the highest-paid actors on television.
“You want a raise?” Rossen asked.
Replied Sheen: “Yeah, look what they put me through.”
On ABC, Sheen said to correspondent Andrea Canning that he planned to sue his bosses.
“Wouldn’t you?” he said. “I’ve got a whole family to support and love. People beyond me are relying on that. I’m here to collect. They’re going to lose. They’re going to lose in a courtroom, so I would recommend that they settle out of court.”
Sheen said he’s bored now with cocaine. But he said he “exposed people to magic” when they partied with him and that he loved doing drugs.
“What’s not to love?” he said on ABC. “Especially when you see how I party. It was epic. The run I was on made Sinatra, Flynn, Jagger, Richards just look like droopy-eyed armless children.”
ABC and Radar Online had Sheen’s blood and urine tested for drugs over the weekend.
The results were “a big win for Charlie Sheen, no question,” said Radar’s Dylan Howard. He said the dual tests revealed Sheen hadn’t had drugs in at least 72 hours.
“I am on a drug,” Sheen said. “It’s called Charlie Sheen. It’s not available because if you try it, you will die. Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body.”
Jim Bell, executive producer of “Today,” dismissed any suggestion that the morning shows were being enablers for Sheen.
“It’s a great story,” he said. “We don’t have this much interest (from television writers) when we have a big interview on Libya or a powerful, smart series on the brain.’
AP Television Writers Lynn Elber, David Bauder and Frazier Moore contributed to this report.
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