Author Topic: Is Charlie Sheen Worth $2 Million Per Episode?  (Read 3055 times)

Offline David In Indy

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Is Charlie Sheen Worth $2 Million Per Episode?
« on: May 19, 2010, 04:02:22 pm »

Is Charlie Sheen Really Worth $2 Million Per Episode?





So, America's long national nightmare is over, and the nation's couch potatoes can rest easy knowing that, not only is Charlie Sheen going to remain on 'Two and a Half Men' for two more years, but he'll also continue to remain TV's highest paid actor, earning almost $2 million per episode, more than double what he makes now.

That's a lot of money for a guy with as much personal baggage as Charlie Sheen, enmeshed as he is in scandal that threatens to derail his show, not just because it may alienate viewers, but because he also faces potential jail time on felony charges stemming from the Christmas 2009 incident in which he allegedly threatened his wife with a knife.

Is it really worth so much trouble and the expense for CBS and 'Two and a Half Men' producer Warner Bros. Television to hold on to Sheen just for the sake of a sitcom that is currently wrapping its seventh season and can't have too many years of life left in it? Is Sheen really worth nearly $2 million per episode?

The short answer: Yes.

Granted, it's hard, at first glance, to see how the math can work in favor of CBS or WBTV. Besides more than doubling the $850,000 per episode salary of the man who's already the highest paid actor on TV, 'Men' also boasts the costliest child actor on TV. According to the New York Post, Angus T. Jones, who plays Jake, earns $250,000 per show, well above the per-episode fees of such tween cash machines as Miley Cyrus and Miranda Cosgrove.

Add Jones' fee and whatever Jon Cryer (who plays Alan) makes to Sheen's new salary of $1.8 to $1.9 million, and WBTV has already spent around $3 million per episode before a single scene is shot. Add another couple million in production costs, subtract the license fee that CBS pays for the show, and it looks like WBTV is losing money on each episode, losses that will be compounded by nearly $50 million over the next two years, given Sheen's $1 million-per-episode raise.

Still, WBTV will make it all back and then some in syndication, which is where the real money is in TV production. Just look at the lucrative deal struck for reruns of 'Men's' soon-to-be former timeslot follow-up, 'The Big Bang Theory'; according to The Wrap, it'll earn $1.5 million per episode when it airs on TBS and Fox-owned local stations. ('Big Bang' will move to Thursdays at 8PM next fall. See CBS' full schedule here.) Reruns of 'Men' are likely to be perennial popular favorites for years to come, providing a steady, long-term stream of income well after the show ceases production. Another two seasons, and 'Men' will pass 200 episodes, a nice round number that syndication packagers like.





Meantime, it remains the most-watched current sitcom on TV, averaging 14.7 million viewers this season. Up against unproven new dramas on NBC and Fox at 9PM on Mondays next fall, there's no reason to think the 'Men'/'Big Bang' hour won't continue to be a successful block for CBS and bring in plenty of commercial dollars during what is expected to be a rebounding ad market. Even if CBS were to pay a bigger license fee to WBTV to help defray the cost of Sheen's raise, it's worth it to the network - and to its sponsors - to have a guaranteed hit for another two years.

But is it worth paying so much money to Sheen if he continues to be a trouble magnet? It's true that Sheen is due in court in July to face charges of felony menacing, criminal mischief, and third degree assault stemming from the alleged knife-wielding incident. Still, it seems unlikely that Sheen would do serious time; he and wife Brooke Mueller are reportedly trying to patch things up, which would make her unlikely to testify against him, and his lawyers are reportedly hammering out a plea bargain for him.

So the case is more of a public relations challenge than a threat to the show's production schedule. It may be Sheen's most serious such challenge to date, but it's not like he hasn't been a walking PR nightmare for 20 years while still managing to excel at his day job.





That sort of scandal could repel viewers, except that 'Men' has always used Sheen's aura of disreputability to its own advantage. It's built into the Charlie Harper character; in fact, it's part of his louche appeal. So is Charlie Harper's seemingly miraculous failure to suffer any real consequences from his misbehavior. His teflon sheen, if you will, which drives his strait-laced brother Alan crazy and sets a bad example for nephew Jake, is the comic engine of the series. So the actor's ongoing real-life drama, incredibly enough, is likely only to help the show's bona fides, as it has for the last seven years.

And, like it or not, the show really can't be made without Sheen. You can't call it 'One and a Half Men.' You can't replace the Charlie Harper character with someone else and still keep the premise of Alan and his son living with Alan's playboy brother in the latter's Malibu beach house. Sheen is as indispensable to the show as Ray Romano was to 'Everybody Loves Raymond' and Kelsey Grammer was to 'Frasier,' which is why he can demand a salary in the ballpark of what those two actors were earning at similar points in their sitcoms' runs.

So Charlie Sheen is living the dream. Just ask Alec Baldwin, who made Sheen's success amid scandal the punchline of his 'Saturday Night Live' monologue over the weekend.

Baldwin seemed to be talking about himself - but wasn't - when he said, "Follow your dreams. They can take you to some amazing places. You know, 20 years ago, there was a young movie star living in Hollywood, but he wanted more. So he worked and he worked, and he dreamed and he dreamed. And yes, he had his share of setbacks, including a difficult, public divorce from a beautiful, complicated actress, but he never lost hope. His dreams came true. Because today that movie star is on a sitcom. And he is happy, happier than he has ever been. How do I know? Because, ladies and gentleman, that man... is Charlie Sheen."


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Offline serious crayons

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Re: Is Charlie Sheen Worth $2 Million Per Episode?
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2010, 01:40:24 pm »
This is baffling to me. I don't regularly watch Two and a Half Men, but my kids have reruns on sometimes, so I see scenes here and there, and they strike me as out-and-out bad. And Charlie Sheen's presence, if anything, makes them worse (although I find Jon Cryer really annoying, too).

I don't really care what actors do in their private lives, and I haven't followed Sheen's troubles, but I'll admit that what little I've heard about his reputation doesn't enhance his appeal for me. But what's more important is that he just doesn't strike me as funny.

Meanwhile, I am looking forward tonight to watching what I consider the four best sitcoms on TV: Community, Parks and Rec, The Office and 30 Rock. They are all hilarious, each in its own way. They're the best sitcoms I watch; the only sitcoms, in fact. I think there are some other good sitcoms that I haven't seen; I've heard Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory are good.

But Two and a Half Men? Pffffttt. To compare them, and Sheen, to the wonderful Frasier or even the likable Everybody loves Raymond seems ridiculous.



Offline David In Indy

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Re: Is Charlie Sheen Worth $2 Million Per Episode?
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2010, 02:40:40 pm »
I don't watch any of those shows you listed Katherine, except for Everybody Loves Raymond which is one of my all time favorite sitcoms. I do watch Two and a Half Men however and I think the show is hysterical.  And I find Charlie Sheen very cute and funny. Although I must admit some of the things he's done over the years in r/l are absolutely deplorable. And $2 million an episode is an obscene amount of money. Many people will not make that much in an entire lifetime. :-\
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: Is Charlie Sheen Worth $2 Million Per Episode?
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2010, 02:57:35 pm »
I don't watch any of those shows you listed Katherine,

Try them tonight! They're on from 7 to 9 p.m. CDT, NBC. Thursdays are known as "TV night" around my house -- the one night of the week I monopolize the TV and the comfy chair and refuse to give the kids rides anywhere.

Quote
I do watch Two and a Half Men however and I think the show is hysterical.

OK, maybe I should give it another chance. As I said, I've only seen parts of it, on the fly.




Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Is Charlie Sheen Worth $2 Million Per Episode?
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2010, 03:29:21 pm »
I don't think I've ever watched 2 and a Half Men before.  But, LOL, whenever I see anything to do with Jon Cryer I have an urge to watch 80s movies.
:D

I do occasionally watch Modern Family and I think it's actually pretty fun.  The whole cast has a nice, quirky chemistry IMO.  And, I like that there is a gay male couple (raising a daughter) mixed into the overall group.  And their family situations are treated on par with the other couples and families.

I love 30 Rock... I even have a few seasons on DVD.

This is baffling to me. I don't regularly watch Two and a Half Men, but my kids have reruns on sometimes, so I see scenes here and there, and they strike me as out-and-out bad. And Charlie Sheen's presence, if anything, makes them worse (although I find Jon Cryer really annoying, too).

I don't really care what actors do in their private lives, and I haven't followed Sheen's troubles, but I'll admit that what little I've heard about his reputation doesn't enhance his appeal for me. But what's more important is that he just doesn't strike me as funny.

Meanwhile, I am looking forward tonight to watching what I consider the four best sitcoms on TV: Community, Parks and Rec, The Office and 30 Rock. They are all hilarious, each in its own way. They're the best sitcoms I watch; the only sitcoms, in fact. I think there are some other good sitcoms that I haven't seen; I've heard Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory are good.

But Two and a Half Men? Pffffttt. To compare them, and Sheen, to the wonderful Frasier or even the likable Everybody loves Raymond seems ridiculous.



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Offline David In Indy

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Re: Is Charlie Sheen Worth $2 Million Per Episode?
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2010, 03:46:42 pm »
Try them tonight! They're on from 7 to 9 p.m. CDT, NBC. Thursdays are known as "TV night" around my house -- the one night of the week I monopolize the TV and the comfy chair and refuse to give the kids rides anywhere.

OK, maybe I should give it another chance. As I said, I've only seen parts of it, on the fly.





I will! I will try to remember to watch some of them! :)

You mentioned the Big Bang Theory, and I watch that one too. I think you'd like it. It's a VERY funny show and not nearly as raunchy as Two and a Half Men. Which is surprising since both shows were created by the same person - Chuck Lorre.
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Offline David In Indy

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Re: Is Charlie Sheen Worth $2 Million Per Episode?
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2010, 03:56:35 pm »
I don't think I've ever watched 2 and a Half Men before.  But, LOL, whenever I see anything to do with Jon Cryer I have an urge to watch 80s movies.
:D


Jon Cryer was really funny in "Pretty In Pink". He and Molly Ringwald were both very good in that movie and they played off each other really well. :)

Even after all these years of seeing him in "Two and a Half Men" I still think of "Pretty In Pink" when I see him.

It's the same with "The Big Bang Theory". When I see Johnny Galecki who plays Leonard in the show, I immediately think of the movie "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation". He played Rusty in that movie. He was also in "Roseanne" too, I think, but I rarely watched that show.
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: Is Charlie Sheen Worth $2 Million Per Episode?
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2010, 05:32:32 pm »
FWIW, Dave Cullen, who in Brokie tradition I have friended on Facebook, just today posted a status update calling Modern Family the second-funniest sitcom after Big Bang Theory.

No word on his opinion of Two and a Half Men, Everybody Loves Raymond or NBC's Thursday night lineup.


Offline serious crayons

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Re: Is Charlie Sheen Worth $2 Million Per Episode?
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2010, 12:14:17 am »
Try them tonight! They're on from 7 to 9 p.m. CDT, NBC. Thursdays are known as "TV night" around my house -- the one night of the week I monopolize the TV and the comfy chair and refuse to give the kids rides anywhere.

I hope nobody cleared their schedules to watch the NBC sitcoms tonight! They weren't nearly as good as they normally are. What is it about season finales that makes writers think they must be Very Special Episodes?? Too many stupid declarations of love, too much jumping the shark. Believe me, these shows are usually much funnier. Why do writers always think romantic suspense is so much better than regular old comedy? As the shows unfolded, I kept thinking, "Oh no! I've steered BetterMostians there on a bad night!"

30 Rock did have some pretty impressive guest stars: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Michael Sheen and Elizabeth Banks. All in one episode! The Office had Kathy Bates, Parks and Rec had Rob Lowe and some other guy.

But please, TV-watchers, try again in the fall.


Offline Lynne

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Re: Is Charlie Sheen Worth $2 Million Per Episode?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2010, 02:58:21 am »
I just watched the last episode of Castle on Hulu for the season, and they did the Very Special Episode thing too.

It wasn't half-bad, tho, IMO...I loved seeing the mystery/noir writers' cameos - Patterson, Connelly, and Cannell at the poker table

...and I was pretty well moved by the Beckett/Castle plot twist that was, then wasn't. 

It's probably the most I've cared about those two characters all year - for me, the appeal has been more in the supporting cast fun and the mysteries.

So for once in a long while, I am caught up on TV and awaiting the next season.   :)

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Offline David In Indy

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Re: Is Charlie Sheen Worth $2 Million Per Episode?
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2010, 02:33:48 am »
Kerry, are they airing "The Big Bang Theory" in Australia? If so, you might give that one a try. I watch it every week. I think it is incredibly funny. And it isn't nearly as sexist and raunchy as "Two and a Half Men".

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Offline David In Indy

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Re: Is Charlie Sheen Worth $2 Million Per Episode?
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2010, 03:11:42 am »
I've watched "The Big Bang Theory" a couple of times and enjoyed it, David. Not sure why I've not watched it more often. There must be something else on at that time that I like more. I don't think TBBT would be much, however, if it weren't for one character in particular. Can't think of his name, but he's the tall, thin, extremely eccentric, anal-retentive character. I think he's absolutely hilarious. He steals the show. I don't think the show would be much without him. The other three male characters are quite humourless, especially the Indian guy. And the female neighbour may as well not even be there at all.

I think you must be talking about Sheldon, Kerry. Sheldon Cooper. He's hilarious.

However, I think if you watch the show a few more times you'd probably start liking the other characters too. I love the interactions between Sheldon and Leonard, and Sheldon and Penny. They crack me up! :laugh:

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Offline Katie77

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Re: Is Charlie Sheen Worth $2 Million Per Episode?
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2010, 08:29:30 am »
Well if he has to be paid that to keep the show running, then he IS worth it.

I get a laugh out of the new series as well as re-runs.

Sexist...yes......corny.....yes........actors paid too much....yes.....FUNNY.....YES
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