Charlie Sheen has been given another sitcom. Lionsgate TV has announced that he will star in a new series based on the 2003 Adam Sandler film, “Anger Management.” He’ll play the part made famous by Jack Nicholson and he’ll have an ownership stake in the program. We don’t know yet which network will air it.
How outrageous is this?
CBS cut Sheen loose from Two and a Half Men in March because of his celebrated behavior away from the studio and the fact that he insulted producer Chuck Lorre. The guy is an admitted drug user. He’s torn up hotel rooms and he has been accused of spousal abuse.
What does it take to make production companies and networks to steer clear of stars who are trouble? Would they even draw the line at murder?
When you think about it, it’s not surprising that companies like Lions gate and the distributor, Debmar-Mercury (owned by Lionsgate) would go into business with Sheen. Too few businesses have scruples these days.
But in order for Anger Management to stay on the air, there must be viewers. And that means people like you and me. Will people watch? I pledge here and now that I will not. How about you?
Please, let there be some evidence that American television audiences have standards. Don’t watch and hope that others follow suit. It’s important that producers and network executives know that the public won’t stand for behavior like Sheen’s and that a majority of us feel strongly enough about right and wrong to guarantee that individuals like Sheen are not rewarded by ratings and the subsequent income and accolades.
For your information, here is the Lionsgate news release announcing the new program:
Los Angeles, CA, July 18, 2011 — Former Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen is planning his return to series television in Anger Management, a new sitcom loosely based on Revolution Studios' 2003 hit comedy feature of the same name. Lionsgate-owned Debmar-Mercury, headed by Co-Presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein, will distribute the series that will be produced by Lionsgate Television, led by Television Group President Kevin Beggs and COO Sandra Stern; Joe Roth and Revolution Studios' Vince Totino; Sheen manager Mark Burg's production company, Evolution Management; and Robert Maron.
Sheen will retain a significant ownership stake in the series inspired by the film, in which a mild-mannered, non-confrontational man is ordered to attend group anger management sessions led by a therapist who could probably use some anger management himself.
"I chose Anger Management because, while it might be a big stretch for me to play a guy with serious anger management issues, I think it is a great concept," Sheen said. "It also provides me with real ownership in the series, a certain amount of creative control and the chance to be back in business with one of my favorite movie producers of all time, Joe Roth."
"Who better than Charlie Sheen to tackle Anger Management," Roth said. "With Charlie's incredible talent and comedic gifts, he remains the leading man of TV sitcoms. I'm excited to collaborate with him once again."
Roth is also currently working with Lionsgate's Debmar-Mercury and Ice Cube's CubeVision on the TBS hit "Are We There Yet?" It is one of three hugely successful sitcoms (along with Tyler Perry's "House of Payne" and "Meet the Browns") that are the result of a unique sitcom business model created by Marcus and Bernstein.
Marcus and Bernstein said in a joint statement, "Our sitcom model is all about building well-known brands around extraordinary talents like Charlie that, thanks to their large profit participation, are highly motivated to succeed.
It's not every day you can roll out a sitcom featuring the star of the biggest TV comedy of the past decade.
"We always look for series ideas that are noisy, accessible and relevant," said Lionsgate's Kevin Beggs. "Charlie Sheen in 'Anger Management' takes those criteria to a whole new level and we are thrilled to be in business with him, Evolution, Debmar-Mercury and Revolution Studios on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. With a star of Charlie's magnitude, a producer as venerable as Joe Roth and a branded property as compelling as 'Anger Management,' this show has unique upside while still adhering to our disciplined business model."
Said Burg, one of the creative forces behind Lionsgate's "SAW" franchise, the most popular long-running horror franchise of all time, and a former executive producer of "Two and a Half Men," "We have been fielding numerous offers for Charlie since his departure from "Two and a Half Men," but none were as creatively and financially compelling as the package that Lionsgate, Debmar-Mercury, and Revolution presented us with Anger Management."
The deal was negotiated on behalf of Debmar-Mercury and Lionsgate by Sandra Stern. Sheen was represented by Jake Bloom and Leigh Brecheen of Bloom, Hergott, Diemer, Rosenthal, Laviolette & Feldman. Revolution and Joe Roth were represented by Matt Johnson of Ziffren Brittenham LLP.