Charlie Sheen drew back the curtain on a portion of his life we knew few details about — a sitcom deal with FX that is one of the best in the TV business.
We’d all heard about the huge commitment FX has made to Sheen’s show “Anger Management,” but until we saw Charlie discussing it with Jimmy Fallon Tuesday night on NBC’s “Late Night,” we wondered how the deal worked.
And now we know at least part of it, thanks to Fallon’s interview with Sheen.
Basically, the deal is this: After a first season consisting of just eight episodes (which aired last July and August), FX made a commitment for 90 more episodes — an almost unheard-of advance order.
But, as Sheen pointed out, there is one other figure in the TV business who can command that kind of commitment — Tyler Perry. TBS ordered 100 episodes of his sitcom “House of Payne” after only 10 episodes aired in summer 2006.
“It’s the Tyler Perry model,” said Sheen, who drew laughs from the “Late Night” audience even though he wasn’t kidding.
Sheen explained to Fallon that he and his producers will make all 90 of the episodes without taking a break, and without splitting the 90 shows into separate seasons of, say, 13 or 22 episodes each, like other shows. “We’re not going to do a seasonal-type thing,” Sheen said. “Once we go on the air, we’re on ’til we’re done makin’ ‘em! And they’re already talking about more on top of the 90 — on top of the  actually.”
Having said that, the new, second season of “Anger Management” starts Thursday night (Jan. 17) at 9/8c with two back-to-back episodes.
He told Fallon that they’ve already produced 27 episodes in three months — a fast-track production schedule that is also unheard-of. “It would take a normal sitcom like 11 months to do that, probably over a year,” Sheen said.
“Are you going crazy?” Fallon asked him, referring to the constant work.
“There’s no time to over-think it,” Sheen said. “We’re doing two shows a week. So Monday and Tuesday we do a show, come in and read [the next scripts on Wednesday], and Thursday and Friday we do the second show and I don’t remember it until I see it on the air ’cause the pace is insane. But it’s really exciting because people are saying, ‘How do you do it?’ Well, I don’t have a choice. You just do it. You’re there to do it, man, you gotta work. And it’s so exciting, it’s so creative. Bruce Helford, our showrunner, is an absolute genius. The cast is amazing.”
One thing Charlie did not reveal: How much he’s being paid for all this work, though it’s probably a king’s ransom. And one other thing: The reason why the number 100 is significant in both the Sheen and Perry deals is that it’s the approximate number of episodes a show needs to be sold into lucrative rerun syndication. Sheen’s deal indicates that FX is already planning on profiting from that when the time comes.
Among the cast members in “Anger Management” is Sheen’s father, Martin Sheen, who plays Charlie’s father on the show. “I think they hired him to keep an eye on me,” Sheen told Fallon, who then got Charlie to talk about what it was like growing up with his famous father and, among other things, hanging out on the set of “Apocalypse Now” in the Philippines. Charlie, now 47, was 10 years-old.
While you might say Charlie is barely into his middle age, he’s about to become a grandfather for the first time — something he talked about on the “Fallon” show, and a night earlier on “Late Show with David Letterman” on CBS.
The expectant mother is his eldest daughter, Cassandra, who’s 28. When she was born, Charlie was 19.