Funny Is Money, Or: Why Charlie Sheen’s Bosses Don’t Kick Him To The Curb

Charlie Sheen (CBS)

Charlie Sheen (CBS)

Mel Gibson can’t even hold onto a cameo in a sure-to-be-mediocre ‘Hangover’ sequel, yet Charlie Sheen – now under psychiatric care after being found seemingly intoxicated in a NYC hotel room – continues to be employed as one of TV’s highest paid stars.

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You may be asking: How does that work, exactly? How does Sheen continue to be rolling in the green no matter how many public embarrassments he suffers while under the employ of CBS and Warner Bros. TV?

Forbes editor Lacey Rose perhaps sums it up best by calling the ‘Two And A Half Men‘ headliner a “one-man profit center.”

“Sheen didn’t make $30 million last year… because his bosses think he’s a good, reliable guy,” Rose writes. “What matters is ‘Two and a Half Men,’ the show he has carried for eight seasons, is the most-watched comedy in prime-time.” Commanding the second-highest ad rate of any comedy ($207,000 per 30-second spot), CBS’ ‘Men’ generated $155.1 million in ad revenue last season.

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An industry source echoes that sentiment, telling Fancast, “Charlie is the linchpin of an incredibly lucrative series,” and that’s why off-camera antics come with little professional consequence, at least as a star of ‘Two And A Half Men.’ “But would he be cast in something new at this point?” asks our source. “Likely not.”

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Sheen also has been the beneficiary of “good” timing for his bad boy behavior. For example, his arraignment last February for felony charges stemming from a Christmastime domestic dispute with then-wife Brooke Mueller arrived in the shadow of Michael Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, being charged with manslaughter. As a result, Sheen’s shameful situation didn’t get a fraction of the traction it rightfully deserved.

“If Charlie Sheen’s arraignment hadn’t happened within 15 minutes of Conrad Murray’s arraignment, the media would have covered [it] like crazy,” TMZ boss Harvey Levin told The Daily Beast at the time.

And as for any Mel Gibson comparisons, PMK-BNC crisis management specialist Ross Johnson told the Beast that Sheen has “always apologized for his behavior” and “is always honest with his people.” Versus, say, Tiger Woods, “Charlie’s image has always been, ‘Hey, I ain’t perfect. I never pretended to be a role model.'”

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So, as long as Charlie continues being Charlie, and because of the boffo ad bucks that ‘Men’ hauls in, you can expect CBS and WBTV to hold firm with their “No comment” stances and instead let Sheen’s rep do any talking/apologizing. That is, Forbes reckons, until “the show’s ratings take a nose dive or… Sheen’s notorious behavior land him in jail for an extended period forcing production to be shut down.”

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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