Sources: 'Two and a Half Men' Will Carry On Without Charlie Sheen
By Rob Shuter Posted Mar 8th 2011 03:18PM
Now that self-proclaimed "winner" Charlie Sheen has been officially fired by Warner Bros. Television, producers have to decide what is to become of their hobbled hit show 'Two and a Half Men.' Worry not, all you Jon Cryer fans, insiders are telling me that every effort is going to be made to continue without Charlie.
"Finding a replacement will not be easy, but you can bet they are going to try," one TV executive tells me. "It would be too difficult to replace Charlie's character, which is why discussions are being had in which a friend or relative of the main character would arrive and Charlie leaves."
The track record of changing lead characters is a mixed one. Back in 2000, everyone assumed 'Spin City' would end after Michael J. Fox left the show, but producers decided to carry on with -- ironically -- Charlie Sheen as the new deputy mayor. Ratings plummeted for the final two seasons, and it went from being the 33rd most watched show on TV to No. 78.
A similar situation occurred when NBC carried on with 'NewsRadio' after Phil Hartman died in 1998. He was replaced with Jon Lovitz for season five, and although the show saw a slight bump in viewership, it was canceled.
But unlike those sitcoms, which were never huge ratings hits, 'Two and a Half Men' was still essentially on top of its game, up until it was shut down due to Charlie's erratic behavior.
The talk around the network and Warner Bros. is that they owe it to the show's loyal viewers to not give up.
"The show is a monster hit with huge profits, so no way is everyone just going to walk away from that without at least trying to make it work without him," an insider tells me.
CBS has not returned my requests for comment.
Producers are also mindful that without Charlie and his nearly $2 million-per-episode paycheck, the show would be leaner and likely still profitable, even with the inevitable drop in viewers.
Way back on Feb. 23, I reported that CBS was having internal discussion to ponder a 'Men' without Charlie, so they should be rolling out their plans any day now. Will it be John Stamos? I'll just go ahead and throw out a couple more names while I'm at it ... David Arquette and, oh yeah, Emilio Estevez.
Who do you think should replace Charlie?
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