CBS is concerned about Charlie Sheen’s ongoing behavior outside of work — but the situation is still under control, the network said Friday.
CBS Entertainment prexy Nina Tassler, who was clearly waiting for the question, told reporters at the Eye’s portion of the TV Critics Assn. press tour that the network had “a high level of concern” about Sheen’s recent behavior. “How could we not?” Tassler said.
Sheen made headlines for taking part in a New York hotel scuffle last October, and this weekend, tabloid sites reported on what was described as Sheen’s “epic bender” in Las Vegas.
But despite generating all of those off-hour headlines, Sheen continues to report to the set.
“Personally, first, on a very basic human level, we have concern,” Tassler said. “This man is a father, he’s got children, a family. But you can’t look at it simplistically. Charlie is a pro. He comes to work, he does his job extremely well.”
Tassler noted that “Two and a Half Men” was set to tape on Friday night, with Sheen fully on camera. The exec also said Sheen was aware of how the network felt and CBS exec concerns. “It’s very complicated,” she said. “We have a very good relationship with (sitcom producer) Warner Bros. TV. I have tremendous trust and respect with how they’re managing the situation. On a professional level, he does his job, he does it well, the show is a hit. And that’s all I have to say.”
Tassler didn’t stray from those comments, even when asked again later about Sheen’s health and recent actions.
Also during CBS’ executive session, Tassler said she was confident that a deal would be hammered out to keep “NCIS” star Mark Harmon (whose deal is up at the end of this season) on the show.
The exec also wasn’t quite ready to announce series renewals, although a second season of frosh skein “Hawaii Five-0” is a no-brainer. Net is still waiting to see how creative adjustments to “Bleep My Dad Says” impacts that show, and will look closely at how “Blue Bloods” performs in its new Wednesday home.
As for Fox’s decision to move the “American Idol” results show to Thursday night (opposite CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory”), Tassler admitted that the rival reality series continues to operate as “a force of nature.”
“It’s a powerhouse,” she said. “But ‘Big Bang’ is a superstar. We’re thrilled with how it’s done on Thursdays. It’s going to be very interesting. In terms of ‘Big Bang’ fans, we know we have an audience there. Any time you put hit shows in one time period, there are enough eyeballs to go around. I think we’ll do OK.”
In other notes, Tassler said the Eye is looking to add more original fare, including scripted series, to the net’s summer sked. And she said CBS is still pursuing a variety show with singer John Mayer.