Image Credit: Greg Gayne/CBSWith Charlie Sheen reportedly undergoing stay-at-home rehab, 300 or so cast and crew members are sitting idle because Two and A Half Men didn’t resume production today in Burbank, CA. Stars like Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones — both of whom signed rich new pacts recently with Warner Bros. TV — will likely get paid whether or not they’re working, but it’s different for the show’s crew members, who are considered freelance workers.
As a result, the studio is under no obligation to pay the Men crew, but some insiders suggest that it sure would be nice if Sheen did — especially in the wake of the extravagant expenditures for less noble pursuits by TV’s highest-paid star. (And hey, it wouldn’t be the first time the star of a show paid the salaries for his out-of-work minions. All the late night hosts covered the paychecks for their crews during the early days of the 2007-08 Writers Strike).
How long the Men crew goes without a paycheck depends on Sheen, who’s reportedly undergoing treatment at home with the help of experts, according to People. “Charlie has put together a team that he trusts to help get him sober once and for all,” says Mark Burg, Sheen’s manager who is also a producer of Two and a Half Men.
In the meantime, CBS hasn’t made any wholesale changes to its schedule just yet. TMZ posted a report today saying that production will resume in three to four weeks but the studio is not confirming it. The network still has two original episodes of Men in the can that aren’t scheduled to air until Feb. 7 and Feb. 14, and the use of repeats remains a viable option while the 45-year-old actor is absent. In fact, CBS on Monday aired a Men rerun, which still managed to rank as the most-watched show of the night with 14.7 million viewers.
Still, CBS has begun (albeit very slowly) to prepare for the spring by ordering two additional episodes of Rules of Engagement, its four-year-old comedy that averages 8.8 million. Despite published reports, the network has no plans to order more episodes of Mike & Molly to help pick up any slack in the schedule, especially if Men should change time slots or — worse case scenario — go off the air.
How much Sheen’s absence impacts the Eye depends on the actor, of course. Though an at-home treatment plan certainly raises eyebrows, where — or from whom — he gets help shouldn’t be an issue. “It’s not so much whether Charlie Sheen gets treatment in a residential facility or at home, it’s more about whether Charlie Sheen is ready, willing and able to take responsibility for his problem and start practicing the solution,” says William C. Moyers, a vice president at Hazelden, the addiction treatment center in Minnesota.
“There are a lot of very good counselors and other experts who can bring their expertise to Charlie Sheen wherever he is. But the bigger issue, the more fundamental issue, is whether he is ready and willing to take the advice,” Moyers continued. “The time has come for Charlie to stop being the problem, and start working the solution.”