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Sheen Comments Lead CBS, Warner to End ‘Two and a Half Men’

Actor Charlie Sheen of
Actor Charlie Sheen of "Two and a Half Men" departs the Pitkin County Courthouse in Aspen, Colorado, on Aug. 2, 2010. Photographer: Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images

Feb. 25 (Bloomberg) -- CBS Corp. and Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. unit stopped production of “Two and a Half Men,” citing the behavior and remarks of star Charlie Sheen.

“Based on the totality of Charlie Sheen’s statements, conduct and condition, CBS and Warner Bros. Television have decided to discontinue production of ‘Two and a Half Men’ for the remainder of the season,” the companies said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.

The move by producer Warner Bros. and CBS, broadcaster of “Two and a Half Men,” follow comments Sheen made in interviews with TMZ celebrity website and with radio host Alex Jones. Sheen denounced the show’s creator, Chuck Lorre, both outlets reported. Sheen said Lorre was “stupid” and cost the actor and his cast money, TMZ reported. On radio, he called Lorre a “clown” with a “tin can” show Sheen turned into “gold.”

Warner Bros. has produced 16 of the 24 episodes CBS ordered this season, the show’s eighth. “Two and a Half Men” is the most-watched comedy on television.

TMZ is owned by New York-based Time Warner.

“It’s more about next season,” David Bank, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in New York, said in an e-mail. “If the show goes away, it’s bad.”

Sheen, whose substance-abuse problems caused a hiatus of taping on Jan. 28, told syndicated radio host Jones that he’s “100 percent” sober.

“It’s all good,” Sheen said on the show. “Quit panicking.”

January Rehab

CBS, based in New York, and Warner Bros. issued a joint statement on Jan. 28 saying they were “profoundly concerned for Sheen’s health and well-being,” and said they supported his decision to enter a rehabilitation center.

Production was to resume on Feb. 28, USA Today reported on Feb. 17, citing a person with knowledge of the situation. At the time, the newspaper said four more episodes would be produced for this season, bringing the total to 20.

CBS, controlled by Chairman Sumner Redstone, rose $1.51, or 6.9 percent, to $23.54 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, the biggest single-day gain since May 10. CBS yesterday forecast $3 billion in new revenue over the next several years from new digital businesses, higher fees from its TV stations and overseas sales of its programs. Time Warner, based in New York, gained 48 cents to $37.90 and has climbed 18 percent in 2011.

When taping was interrupted in January, CBS issued a statement saying that the financial impact of the shutdown wasn’t material.

“Any ratings declines will be more than offset by the reduced programming costs for episodes lost this season,” Chris Ender, a spokesman for the network, said then.

“This isn’t a huge deal for either of these companies, unless the show doesn’t come back next year,” said Michael Nathanson, an analyst with Nomura Securities in New York, said yesterday. “It won’t hit them this year. But down the road, they won’t have those episodes to syndicate.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Andrew Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net; Ronald Grover in Los Angeles at rgrover5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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