Sometimes, a press release can raise as many questions as it answers.
Such was the case when the story of a new Charlie Sheen sitcom began making the rounds on Monday. A carefully crafted press release had been issued jointly by four entities: Lionsgate, which will produce the new show; a Lionsgate subsidiary, Debmar-Mercury, which will distribute it (indicating it would be syndicated); Revolution Studios, Hollywood producer Joe Roth’s production company, which will co-produce it; and Sheen himself, who will star in it and share in the revenue.
So, after months of irrational ranting and raving, Charlie Sheen suddenly turns up in a very business-like press release where none of his very obvious personal problems — such as his admitted drug use, his threats of violence against past producers, and his alleged unreliability — are mentioned. Instead, he’s portrayed as a high-powered partner working with some of Hollywood’s most respected players — a man with so much on the ball that he managed to negotiate a sitcom deal (with profit-participation, but without a network committed to it or an executive producer to run it) despite the fact that he almost destroyed his last show.
Don’t you just love Hollywood?
Specifically, the announcement confirmed what had been previously reported: Sheen will star in a new sitcom adapted from the 2003 Jack Nicholson/Adam Sandler movie “Anger Management,” in which Sandler played a man ordered into an anger-management program. Nicholson played the program’s leader. Sheen’s role in the sitcom version was not specified in Monday’s press release.
The big question is: What network would air this new sitcom? A few weeks ago, TBS — the sitcom-heavy cable channel — denied it was going into business with Sheen, after numerous stories speculated that TBS was the logical destination for a new Sheen show. For obvious reasons, CBS won’t be in the market for “Anger Management” either. So, we guess that leaves ABC, NBC, Fox, FX, Spike, Comedy Central, USA, HBO and Showtime as possible destinations. We just don’t know.
Also unknown: How can writers and producers be hired to work on this show when they are all aware of Sheen’s erratic, and sometimes dangerous, behavior? For that matter, what assurances, if any, has Sheen given his partners that he’ll curb his excessive lifestyle and make the kind of commitment to this show that he evidently wasn’t willing to make in his final months on “Two and a Half Men”?
And perhaps most importantly: Will the viewing public embrace another Charlie Sheen sitcom? You’d think Charlie Sheen was on par with sitcom legends such as Jerry Seinfeld or Bill Cosby to hear Joe Roth talk about Sheen. “Who better than Charlie Sheen to tackle ‘Anger Management’?” Roth asked proudly in a prepared statement. “With Charlie’s incredible talent and comedic gifts, he remains the leading man of TV sitcoms.”
Really? After all we’ve gone through with Charlie Sheen, is he still the leading anything?