The immortal question raised by all the drama around Charlie Sheen is and has always been this: Does the audience of “Two and a Half Men” care? Oh sure, Sheen may be cavorting with hookers and porn stars, and may be locking them in closets and accidentally shooting them, but that’s part of Sheen’s mythos at this point. And Forbes has shown that his show is the #2 moneymaker on television. Word comes now from Reuters that this drama may be Tiger Blood under the bridge for CBS, and Sheen may yet come back to the show.
The bottom line is this: When every episode of “Two and a Half Men” generates $2.89 million per show of revenue above the cost of production, then almost any thing can be forgiven. And that seems to be the case here as Sheen has proven that he can make money by doing tours (he sold out two Radio City Music Hall shows, which is four times what Kevin Smith could muster!) For CBS it’s a losing venture to let him go without making sure that he isn’t toxic.
And since the show rests on the idea that Sheen’s character is a playboy, and Sheen has never pretended to be anything but a bad boy, it’s quite possible that the audience for the show won’t see these latest skirmishes or any of his illicit or illegal activities as a slight against him or the show. Regardless of the tumultuous relationships between Sheen and the writers/creators of the show, if it maintains itself it may get the pass it has always gotten. The show seems bulletproof in that regard, unless that audience sees Sheen’s latest behavior as akin to couch jumping. But when Tom Cruise acted nutty, or Lindsay Lohan proved to be less than the girl next door it hurt their images – but mostly because they were seen as normal. How do you hurt the image of someone who’s always acted as Sheen has?
And to that, no one seems to judge Charlie Sheen except people who seem to not watch the show. Sheen’s gotten some hipster cred for his latest bombshells, but his core base for the show likely isn’t laughing at his twitter account ironically.
If Charlie Sheen returns, will “Two and a Half Men” implode?