FX Rolls the Dice, Boards Charlie Sheen Express

Ever since it was announced Lionsgate was pitching a sitcom starring Charlie Sheen, the question has been what sap would wind up boarding the roller-coaster and praying for the best.

Congratulations, FX, for once again demonstrating there’s always somebody willing to make a bet — and brave a lot of potential headaches — if there’s even a chance of a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The network is the proud new owner of “Anger Management,” a new sitcom starring Sheen.

CharliesheenNot that News Corp. divisions don’t know a bit about this area, but I’d still advise putting a few crisis PR firms on speed dial.

Sheen’s litany of misbehavior hardly needs to be rehashed, but the bottom line is CBS and Warner Bros. never would have cut the guy loose if he hadn’t gone way overboard, practically daring them to get rid of him. Moreover, the strong performance this season so far by “Two and a Half Men” — while the year’s still young — has largely validated their decision, which came at a sizable risk.

One can appreciate FX’s situation and willingness to roll the dice. The channel has gotten some traction in comedy with “Louie” and “Wilfred,” but the ratings have remained relatively modest. Sheen offers the potential for a major step up — the PR surrounding the premiere will be considerable — and perhaps even a platform to launch some half-hours that might vie with the network’s signature dramas.

For all that, getting into the Charlie Sheen business means holding your breath every time the phone rings — and probably holding your nose.

Maybe Sheen has turned a corner, and this will be one big happily ever after for all the parties.

Even so, if things go South, nobody can say Sheen’s history — Winning! Losing! Falling! (off the wagon) — didn’t warn them. Let the buyer beware.


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