Warners, Sheen settle lawsuit

Agreement resolves dispute for former 'Men' star

Warner Bros. TV announced it had officially settled Charlie Sheen’s lawsuit against the studio and “Two and a Half Men” exec producer Chuck Lorre.

“Warner Bros. Television, Chuck Lorre and Charlie Sheen have resolved their dispute to the parties’ mutual satisfaction,” Warners said in a statement. “The pending lawsuit and arbitration will be dismissed as to all parties. The parties have agreed to maintain confidentiality over the terms of the settlement.”

Sheen filed a $100 million lawsuit against Warner Bros. and “Men” exec producer Lorre over his termination and loss of income March 10. The settlement agreement allows Warner Bros. to release money that it had already owed Sheen, from his profit participation in the show, but withheld from paying out after the legal fight began last spring. At the time of his firing, Sheen had another season to go on his contract with the studio, but it’s understood that he’s not receiving any compensation for that season. He will continue to receive a slice of the show’s considerable profits from syndication.

So, seven months after thesp publicly torched his relationship with Lorre in public interviews, it’s back to business as usual for Sheen and the series — except he’s been replaced by Ashton Kutcher.

The first episode of “Two and a Half Men” with Kutcher in the starring role, on Sept. 19, drew a same-night audience of 28.7 million viewers (10.7 rating/25 share among adults 18-49), the biggest aud for any regular half-hour comedy in six years.

Aaron Moss, chairman of the litigation group at Greenberg Glusker, said a factor in the settlement could have been that the case faded from the news cycle, letting tensions cool.

“That is part of the 24-hour news cycle that is the Internet,” Moss said. “This one had a longer half-life than most stories. But when you don’t have public bickering and what looks to be a hit show (without Sheen), perhaps (Warner Bros.) wanted to put it behind them.”

He said another factor could have been the decision by the arbitrator not to issue a protective order, preventing attorneys from talking about the proceedings in the press, as the studio had sought.”Perhaps Warner Bros. found it prudent to settle the matter rather than have the negative publicity,” Moss said. “But that is just speculation.”

The quiet denouement stands in stark contrast to the bluster that accompanied Sheen’s split from “Men,” Warners, CBS and Lorre, from Sheen’s profanity-filled tirades to the language in court documents. Lorre declined comment late Monday.

(Ted Johnson contributed to this report.)

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