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Charlie Sheen: Scandal-prone star raises sitcom salary bar

Comedy Impact Report 2010: Tube Titans

Charlie Sheen might take issue with the old adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. But while the tabloid headlines surrounding Sheen these days might hurt his feelings, they haven’t seemed to affect his career in the least.

Sheen re-upped in May for two more years on his long-running hit CBS sitcom “Two and a Half Men” for a record payday of $1.25 million an episode. The deal will take the show through its ninth season, at which point Sheen can decide whether he wants to walk away, as he threatened to do this spring, or once again bolster his bank account.

The contract came months after Sheen was arrested on domestic violence charges following an Aspen altercation with his wife. That risk-reward dynamic played out again recently after Sheen allegedly trashed his room at New York’s Plaza Hotel. Following the incident, ratings for “Two and a Half Men” increased 7%. The show remains television’s most-watched comedy, drawing 14 million viewers each week.

Sheen’s durability, it seems, remains as constant as his penchant for trouble — good news both for fans and late-night comedians in need of fresh material. His impact on comedy should continue unabated, though how it will play out even Johnny Carson’s Carnac the Magnificent couldn’t guess.

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