CBS, WBTV execs 'support his decision'

CBS’ “Two and a Half Men” is going on immediate hiatus following the announcement that its star, Charlie Sheen, is going into rehabilitation.

Said Sheen’s publicist, Stan Rosenfield, “Charlie Sheen has voluntarily entered an undisclosed rehabilitation center today. He is most grateful to all who have expressed their concern.”

CBS, Warner Bros. TV and “Two and a Half Men” exec producer Chuck Lorre issued a combined statement that read: “We are profoundly concerned for his health and well-being, and support his decision.”

There was no statement from Rosenfield, the network or Warner Bros. explaining what the ailment was for which Sheen is entering rehab. But it’s no secret that Eye and Warner Bros. execs have been urging the star to rein in his hard-partying lifestyle, both for the sake of the show and for his own health.

Announcement comes a day after Sheen was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after he complained of stomach pains following an alleged night of partying. He was released from the hospital Friday morning. “Two and a Half Men” was on a previously skedded hiatus this week, but Sheen and the cast were set to go back to work Tuesday.

CBS ordered 24 episodes of “Two and a Half Men” this season, 14 of which have already aired and 16 have been shot. Because it’s unknown when Sheen will leave rehab and whether he’ll immediately go back to work, if at all, CBS might not be able to fill out its entire seasonal order for the series.

An Eye spokesman said the impact is unknown how the hiatus will affect future airings. “Men” is the pillar of the Eye’s powerhouse Monday comedy block and has been a cash cow for Warner Bros. in syndication.

For CBS, “Men” is the network’s No. 1 comedy in both total viewers and the 18-49 demo. Show is averaging 14.7 million viewers per week in the 9 p.m. Monday timeslot, and a 4.7 rating/11 share in the demo. CBS has used the success of the sitcom as a lead-in for “Mike & Molly,” which also comes from Warner Bros. TV and is exec produced by Lorre.

At the recent Television Critics Assn. tour in Pasadena, the first question addressed of CBS president Nina Tassler was her concern for Sheen and how it would affect the series. That was immediately after Sheen spent a weekend partying in Las Vegas. After much speculation, he did return to the Burbank lot the next week to get back to work.

“Look, obviously, we’ve thought, and I personally have thought, a lot about this, and we have a high level of concern,” Tassler said on Jan. 14. “How could we not? But I have to speak to this personally first. As you know, on a very basic, human level, concern, of course. This man is a father. He’s got children. He has a family. So, obviously, there’s concern on a personal level. But you can’t look at it simplistically.

“Charlie is a professional. He comes to work. He does his job extremely well. We are taping tonight, and it’s, as I said, it’s very complicated, but we have a very good relationship with Warner Bros. I have a tremendous trust and respect in the way they are managing the situation. So, on a personal level, obviously concerned. On a professional level, he does his job. He does it well. The show is a hit, and that’s really all I have to say.”

This is not the first time Warner Bros. has had to shut down production because Sheen was unable to go to work. Production on “Two and a Half Men” was put on hold Feb. 23 last year, as Sheen checked himself into a rehabilitation clinic for what was called a “preventative measure.” He was arrested on Christmas Day 2009 for allegedly threatening his wife, Brooke Mueller, with a knife.

CBS has one year left on its deal for “Two and a Half Men” after giving the show a three-season pickup in March 2009.

Lorre, Lee Aronsohn, Eric Tannenbaum, Kim Tannenbaum, Mark Burg, Oren Koules, Don Foster, Eddie Gorodetsky and Susan Beavers are exec producers on “Two and a Half Men.”

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