LOS ANGELES, CALIF.—In the wake of an incendiary radio interview with Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen, CBS and Warner Bros. Television said they are ending production on TV’s top-rated sitcom for the season.
The decision was based on the “totality of Charlie Sheen’s statements, conduct and condition,” the companies said in a joint statement Thursday. The show’s future was not addressed.
Production had been suspended in January to allow Sheen to seek rehabilitation. Earlier Thursday, Warner and Sheen’s publicist, Stan Rosenfield, said the series would resume taping next week with Sheen.
That was before the 45-year-old actor’s rambling, often vitriolic radio interview with host Alex Jones in which Sheen blasted Two and a Half Men producer Chuck Lorre and other targets including Alcoholics Anonymous.
The abrupt decision to pull the plug on additional episodes of the lucrative sitcom came after Sheen’s increasingly erratic behaviour, including an earlier interview in which he claimed he had sought to return to work but was barred by producers.
In his interview with Jones, Sheen repeatedly evoked violent images and ideas. He also derided Lorre in an attack that suggested anti-Semitism.
“There’s something this side of deplorable that a certain Chaim Levine — yeah, that’s Chuck’s real name — mistook this rock star for his own selfish exit strategy, bro. Check it, Alex: I embarrassed him in front of his children and the world by healing at a pace that his unevolved mind cannot process,” Sheen said.
“Last I checked, Chaim, I spent close to the last decade effortlessly and magically converting your tin cans into pure gold. And the gratitude I get is this charlatan chose not to do his job, which is to write,” he said.
Lorre, who was born Charles Levine, is a veteran producer whose hits include “The Big Bang Theory,” “Dharma & Greg” and “Cybill.”
Speaking of himself, Sheen said he has “magic and poetry in my fingertips, most of the time.”
Warner had already planned to cut this season’s 24 planned episodes to 20 because of the hiatus. Now, CBS is left with a total of 16 episodes of its cornerstone Monday comedy, all of which have aired.
The network and studio had tolerated Sheen’s recent misadventures, part of a long-checkered life. He went into rehab in January, reportedly at home, after three hospitalizations in three months. The most recent was a brief hospital stay that followed a 911 call in which he was described as very intoxicated.
In the interview with Jones, Sheen had harsh words for Alcoholics Anonymous. He referred to it as a “bootleg cult” with a 5 per cent success rate, compared to his own “100 per cent” success rate.
One of the group’s mottos, he said, is, “’Don’t be special. Be one of us.’ News flash: I am special and I will never be one of you.”
When Jones told Sheen he sounded like Jefferson, Sheen dismissed the U.S. founding father with a rude insult.
“It may be lonely up here but I sure like the view, Alex,” he said.
Sheen referred to himself as a new sheriff in town who has an “army of assassins.”
“If you love with violence and you hate with violence, there’s nothing that can be questioned,” said Sheen, who played a soldier in the war film “Platoon.”