LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Two and a Half Men” star Charlie Sheen has skirted disaster as a wayward, middle-aged party boy who regularly tested the patience of the TV network and studio trying to protect their valuable sitcom property.

It was a violence-tinged and anti-Semitic radio rant that helped push him over the edge and, finally, forced CBS and Warner Bros. Television to take action.

In a one-sentence joint statement Thursday, the companies said they were ending production on television’s No. 1 sitcom for the season, a decision based on the “totality of Charlie Sheen’s statements, conduct and condition.”

Whether he’s gone far enough to sink the series and, possibly, his career as one of TV’s highest-paid actors remained unclear. Sheen’s rambling interview Thursday with host Alex Jones was reminiscent of Mel Gibson’s tirade during a 2006 traffic stop — but Sheen knew his remarks were public.

The production halt leaves CBS eight episodes shy of the 24 half-hours it had expected to air as the cornerstone of its Monday night comedy lineup. And it makes the network and Warner, which reaps hundreds of millions from the show in syndication, the potential go-betweens between Sheen and “Two and a Half Men” executive producer Chuck Lorre.

Lorre bore the brunt of Sheen’s attacks during the radio interview and in a subsequent “open letter” sent to TMZ after the CBS-Warner decision and posted on the entertainment website.

In the letter, the actor called Lorre a “contaminated little maggot” and wished the producer “nothing but pain.”

“Clearly I have defeated this earthworm with my words — imagine what I would have done with my fire breathing fists,” the 45-year-old Sheen wrote.

Improbably, he also called on his admirers 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,” Sheen wrote.

Those remarks, along with his comments to Jones, veered from ludicrous to self-aggrandizing to threatening. For a man who has battled addiction and faced allegations of domestic violence, the outbursts raised troubling questions about his state of mind and his most recent effort at rehabilitation.

In an interview Wednesday, his father, Martin Sheen (“The West Wing,” “Apocalypse Now”) compared his son’s fight against addiction to that of a cancer patient.

“The disease of addiction is a form of cancer,” Martin Sheen told Sky News in London. “You have to have an equal measure of concern and love and lift them up, so that’s what we do for him.”

CBS and Warner had tolerated Sheen’s recent misadventures, including wild partying and three hospitalizations in three months. The incidents are part of a checkered life that included his $50,000-plus tab as a client of “Hollywood Madam” Heidi Fleiss’ prostitution ring, a near-fatal cocaine overdose in 1998, and conflict-filled marriages.

(Last August, he pleaded guilty in Aspen, Colo., to misdemeanor third-degree assault after a Christmas Day altercation with his third wife, Brooke Mueller. The couple’s divorce was recently finalized.)

The TV season was interrupted for “Two and a Half Men” after Sheen was briefly hospitalized last month following a 911 call in which he was described as “very, very intoxicated” and in pain. Production was put on hold while Sheen tried rehab, reportedly at home, but also railed against the hiatus as unneeded.

He signed a new two-year contract at the end of last season that reportedly pays him about $1.8 million per episode.

Plans were set for taping to resume next week. Then came the Jones radio interview and the attack on Lorre 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 told Jones.

“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.” He had no comment on Sheen’s remarks or the production shut down, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

Speaking of himself, the star of the films “Platoon,” “Wall Street” and “Major League” said he has “magic and poetry in my fingertips, most of the time.”

But he also made repeated, unclear references to mayhem. At one point, Sheen called himself the 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,” he said.

When CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler was asked about Sheen at a news conference in January, she said, “We have a high level of concern. How can we not?” she said.

When a reporter suggested a person in a different line of work and a similar track record would be fired, Tassler replied: “What do you get fired for? Going to work and doing your job?”

Comments (48)
  1. Joseph says:

    I beg to differ about the anti-Semitic rant. I do not believe he was being anti-Semitic at all. I also want to point out the it was because of Two In half Men, CL received this explosion of popularity as well as Charlie being the biggest reason for this. Charlie also offered to split his cash to pay for the crew salary and CL said no. So end result here is. CL is trying to gain any power because he know Charlie owns him. CL stopping fighting the hand that feeds you.

    1. Vinita says:

      I believe cancalling the rest of the season of Two In A Half Men…over his comments…is immature and unfair to your consummers/FANS!!!!!!! Everybody has problems and say things they don’t mean. He is sick and can’t be accountable for his broadcast speech. He just wanted his job back and it shouldn’t of been taken away from him when he was seeking help for his PERSONAL PROBLEMS. FYI. He is Two In A Half Men and cancelling the show will cancel your viewers for all and any shows on FOX 13 and for ousting out the rest of the cast as well. Tony and Vinita

  2. hrhea says:

    Anti-Semitic? Not hardly! This was an ill-advised all-out tirade against a man, not a race. And in that tirade, he pulled out all stops, using Chuck Lorre’s own admitted turning from his Jewishness in a poorly thought out slam against him for that by referring to his change of name to one less Jewishm Lorre rather than Levine. Even though Chuck’s real given name is Charles and not Chaim, Chuck Lorre has in the past himself referred to himself as Chaim–the Hebrew equivalent. A poor attempt by Sheen–whjose real family name is Estevez and whose trade name was chosen by his dad Martin to hide his own ethnicity. Charley clearly wasn’t thinking straight in that rant. But anti-semitic? That’s a crock.

    1. mark towsend says:

      racista always claim it is about the man, not the race. If that is true, why even mention religion or race?

  3. bob pro says:

    Charlie, needs to be ousted, and shut the program down…I will not watch it any more, but i do feel sorry for the rest of the cast

    1. monkey girl says:

      I love the show but I don’t understand what all the hype is about Charlie Sheen. He’s not acting, he’s playing himself and getting paid a ridiculous amount of money for it. The rest of the cast is what makes the show so great. Charlie is a pathetic loser. He really makes me sick.

  4. tuna says:

    you pro Charlie fans you forgot Michael Jackson he needed help too , sheen is going to end up like him if he don’t get help , don’t do crack

  5. nero says:

    I beg to differ on opinions that Charlie’s rants did not reek of anti- semitism. If anyone were to refer to Charlies as Jose Estevez, it clearly would be assumed the speaker was drawing attention to his Hispanic heritage. And for what purpose. Because that person has a high esteem for Hispanics or Latinos? I think not. Given his history, he was under the influence when he spoke. No doubt. But when under the influence ,one loses inhibition’s and truer thoughts emerge,no matter how dark, I like Charlie and certainly felt sorry for his condition. But sadly I think I know him even better now and I don’t like what I know.

  6. natasha rutherford says:

    good riddance charlie…..no talent but a big, big mouth…..hope we never see you on TV again…..feel sorry for the writers and cast, all of whom are great,…too bad they had to put up with his coked-up drunken rants.

  7. DA says:

    GOOD!! FINALLY!!! This was the STUPIDEST show on television!!! It goes to show just how dumbed-down America has become that this show was rated #1 for so many years. And, it’s disgusting that Charlie Sheen was paid the millions that he got for such lackluster, non-skilled acting. He should not be rewarded for his outlandish behavior off-screen. I can’t believe he’s whining about not getting paid for the incompleted episodes when he is filthy rich. There are FAR more pressing issues in America today then to give this person more than 1 nano second of our attention.

  8. barbara reid says:

    charlie i wish you nothing but the best i love this show so funny…what are we going to do now without two and a half men?? i will pray for you charlie i am sure everything will work out in the long run your ratings on the show prove that america loves you being so funny,intelligent,very good actor. anyhow charlie no one can beat you down you will recover from all of this and come back better then ever before. send all my prayers are with you and your father charlie. i wish you the best in whatever you do. i really hope they reconsider and bring the show back everyone deserves a second chance. good luck charlie your loyal fan barbie

  9. Derrick says:

    CBS should bring back The New Adventures Of Old Christine. Two And A Half Men is not funny any more. Old Christine is a hit on three channels and facebook.

  10. hrhea says:

    Were Chalie’s tirade on the order of Mel Gibson’s, an attack on Jews as a whole, I would agree to the validity of the anti-semitism charge. And Mel Gibson disappointed me as a person as much as anyone whose work I long admired in that. Charlie would too if it turned out that he does harbor anti-semitic notions. But Charlie’s rant was personal. It’s obvious that there is a great deal of animosity for whatever reason between Chuck Lorre and Charlie Sheen. Given Charlie’s statements, I don’t see how those two could ever continue to work together, and it’s a shame. Both are artists at what they do best. Chuck Lorre is one of he best comedy writers if not the best around. So far he has the high ground and I hope he maintains it. I would like to see Charlie climb back up on it as well. I hate to see it end this way, but I don’t know how it can end otherwise at this point. But the old Reggie Jackson-Greg Nettles Yankees survived some bitter animosity among themselves to win a couple of World Series in spite of that. Maybe it can be done. I doubt it, though. Charlie seriously needs help. I hope he gets it.

  11. me says:

    How is an addict related to a cancer patient. My husband didn’t have a choice to get cancer, whereas Charlie had a choice to start drinking and using drugs. Rediculous!!!!!!!!!! My husbands dad is an alchoholic and my husband is not one. You have a choice to become one or not.

  12. Bradley Craig says:

    Lorre should pull a “Darren Stevens” and replace Sheen with John Stamos….

  13. emilio says:

    the only person that would have half a chance of replacing charlie and pulling it off is his brother. love the show but it is no where close to as funny as it use to be since jake hit puberty.wish when then started bring rose back into the show she would have had a little smart— daughter with her like jake use to be that looked alot like jake since allen was the last one to be with her before she moved to london.

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