UPDATED: CBS has ordered two additional episodes of sitcoms “Mike & Molly” and “Rules of Engagement” to fill the sudden scheduling gap left by Charlie Sheen’s absence from “Two and a Half Men,” THR reports.
In a statement to THR CBS said a shutdown of “Men” is “not material” to the network. “Any ratings declines will be more than offset by the reduced programming costs for episodes lost this season,” the network said. With scheduling they described as “strong and deep with hit series,” CBS added they are not reliant on just one show. “In addition, Two and a Half Men has always performed well in repeats.”
Earlier Monday TMZ reported Sheen would be attempting rehab at home. The site claims Warner Brothers and CBS both played a role in selecting an at-home specialist to work with Sheen.
PREVIOUSLY: How much money has been put at risk now that production on “Two and a Half Men” has been shut down? The answer: A lot.
The Hollywood Reporter lays out the financial situation for CBS now that the sitcom’s troubled star, Charlie Sheen, has entered rehab for an unspecified length of time (though TMZ is reporting his stint in rehab will last three months).
According to THR:
Losses from rerun syndication alone, if “Two and a Half Men” is “forced to shut down permanently,” could total $250 million.
CBS could lose tens of millions of dollars in ad revenue. CBS is getting more than $200,000 each for 30-second commercials during “Men.” That’s $3 million an episode. Last season, ad revenue for “Men” totaled more than $155 million. “Men” is the highest-rated comedy on TV with an average of 14.7 million viewers per episode, the trade mag notes.
Unquantifiable losses include the possible impact on CBS’s Monday night comedy lineup if “Men” goes away since CBS has long used the sitcom to help launch new ones before and after it.
Despite these potential losses, CBS insisted in a statement to THR that “the financial impact of the shutdown is not material to CBS. Any ratings declines will be more than offset by the reduced programming costs for episodes lost this season. We will begin to address the scheduling issues this week.”
One scenario the THR story didn’t suggest: Continuing the show, but without Charlie Sheen. It’s very difficult to replace a show’s star with someone else, but it is possible, depending on how it’s done and who gets chosen as the star’s replacement. (Sheen himself replaced Michael J. Fox on “Spin City” after Fox became too ill to continue.) No one’s saying that this option is on the table at CBS or Warner Brothers (which produces “Two and a Half Men”), but you never know.
See More On Sheen’s Pre-Rehab Hospitalization:
Only two new episodes of “Men” are left, THR notes, scheduled to air Feb. 7 and 14.