TV | Inside TV

Fallout from Charlie Sheen's rehab stint: Will CBS sue?

Now that Charlie Sheen is off to rehab and production on Two and A Half Men has been halted indefinitely, the question now is what steps, if any, CBS and Warner Bros. TV will take to recoup their short-term losses. The Hollywood Reporter published a speculative piece about Sheen’s contract, which suggests that maybe the two companies could exercise a possible morals clause in his deal and sue the high-paid actor for essentially behaving badly. The more likely scenario, however, is that insurance will cover any losses that were incurred while shutting down the show and Sheen – who will return to court March 15 – could possibly use his rehab stint to curry favor with the judge. On Feb. 8, Sheen was charged in Colorado with felony menacing, third degree assault, and criminal mischief that stemmed from an alleged Christmas Day argument between Sheen and his wife Brooke Mueller. She was already looking to amend a protective order placed against Sheen that limited his interaction with her and their twin sons, Max and Bob, and Sheen and Mueller have said, through their attorneys, that they would like to spend time together to reconcile.

Sheen may have a checkered past when it comes to his personal life (his previous trips to rehab and his troubles with ex-wife Denise Richards have been catnip for the Hollywood tabloids), but his on-set reputation remains largely untarnished. Those who work with and around Sheen have long trumpeted his work ethic – a trait that’s likely in his DNA (his father is Martin Sheen and his brother is Emilio Estevez). In fact, Sheen’s on-set reputation is not unlike that of another member of Hollywood royalty – Kiefer Sutherland. The 43-year-old son of Donald Sutherland has also had brushes with the law but is known to be the consummate professional at work: In 2007, it was Sutherland’s decision to serve his full jail sentence for a drunk driving arrest in two installments to prevent disruption to 24’s production schedule. The drama did have to shut down production last month so Sutherland could undergo surgery for a ruptured cyst but it was not expected to affect the broadcast schedule.

As for the immediate future on Men, Warner Bros. TV - which produces the comedy for CBS - has already taped 18 episodes of the comedy this season, three of which have yet to air. CBS ordered 24 episodes from Warner Bros. At 14.9 million, Men remains the most-watched comedy in viewers on broadcast television. The sitcom is in its seventh season.

Photo Credit: Greg Gayne/CBS

Originally posted February 25 2010 — 3:31 PM EST

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