No men at all now

By admin
04 March 2011

It was one of the most successful sitcoms ever, pulling in 15 million people a week in America alone and climbing to the top of viewer rankings in countries around the world, South Africa included. The show earned its main star $2 million (about R14 million) a week and brought fame and fortune to his two co-stars.

But the future of Two and a Half Men hangs in the balance – and word from Hollywood is it will probably never see the light of day again. Executives finally cancelled the rest of the season after main star Charlie Sheen’s launched an astonishing tirade against the creator, Chuck Lorre.

Filming had been paused while Sheen battled his drug, drink and porn addictions but they lost patience after his no-holds-barred verbal assault on Lorre – on radio, in writing and finally on TV.

Now the Warner lot in Los Angeles where the sitcom was filmed is deserted and between 200 and 250 people who worked on the show are looking for jobs. The other actors in the sitcom are out of work too.

Jon Cryer, who played Sheen’s brother, Alan, in the show, and Angus T Jones, the 17-year-old who played Alan’s son, Jake, have refused to comment on the cancellation of the show or Sheen’s behaviour that put paid to their jobs.

But Cryer appeared to be in “low spirits” as he headed into a production studio in Los Angeles, onlookers said.

Although both he and Jones have had other roles it was Two and a Half Men that made their names. What will happen to their careers now is anyone’s guess.

Playing an overweight kid who preferred to hang around the house, eating and vegging on the couch, Jones was ideally suited. But in Hollywood you need an edge. “Sadly Angus could end up being one of those ‘whatever happened to . . .’ people,” a showbiz source says.

Cryer (45) is widely regarded as a better actor than Sheen (also 45) and is the only member of the cast to have won a major Emmy (best supporting actor in a comedy series in 2009). But he doesn’t have Sheen’s pulling power – and the powers-that-be know it.

“Charlie was the show,” an insider says. “Once he started losing it, it was all over. If you ask me, Jon, Angus and all the other people who worked on the show have every right to be bitter and twisted.”

Yet there is another – cynical – way of looking at things. Yes, Sheen has become an impossible-to-manage character on the verge of total meltdown. But Caryn Mandabach, producer of hits such as The Cosby Show, Roseanne and Cybill, believes, “it’s all about the money – as it always is”.

“The show is in its umpteenth season so Warner and Chuck have already wrung out 90 per cent of what they could get from it,” she says. “They have two other shows on CBS and they couldn’t care less about this sitcom and Mr Sheen.”

But for eight years it worked very nicely for them – probably because the very person they chose to play Charlie Harper, a womanising, hard-drinking, chaos-attracting hedonist was just that: a womanising, hard-drinking, chaos-attracting hedonist.

Sheen played the part effortlessly and his charisma made him compelling in an I’m-glad-he-isn’t-my-brother kind of way. But Sheen has blown it now – big time. Although to listen to him you have to wonder if he cares.

Read more about his downfall and some Charlie Sheen-isms in YOU, 10 March 2011.

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