LOS ANGELES (CBS) – 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.
‘Two And A Half Men’ Production Halted After Sheen Rant
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 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 behavior, 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 reeked of 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.”
Lorre had no comment on Sheen’s remarks or the production shut down, a spokeswoman said Thursday. A call made after business hours Thursday to the publicist for Sheen’s co-star, Jon Cryer, was not returned.
Sheen, however, did not go silent after the CBS and Warner announcement.
In what TMZ dubbed an “open letter” from Sheen that the website posted Thursday, the actor called Lorre a “contaminated little maggot” and wished the producer “nothing but pain.”
READ MORE: Charlie Sheen fires back in letter
Sheen, improbably, also called on his fans to start a protest movement for him.
“I urge all my beautiful and loyal fans who embraced this show for almost a decade to walk with me side-by-side as we march up the steps of justice to right this unconscionable wrong,” he wrote.
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 percent success rate, compared to his own “100 percent” 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.”
Earlier this week, Martin Sheen compared his son’s problems to “cancer” but said he was “doing well” after entering rehab following reported partying and a trip to the hospital for abdominal pain.
“We pray for him,” Sheen said of his son on U.K.’s Sky News. “If he had cancer, how would you treat him?”
He added, “This disease of addiction is a form of cancer. You have to have an equal measure of concern and love and lift him up.”
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