Charlie Sheen costing CBS and Warner Bros. millions of dollars
Although Charlie Sheen’s stint in rehab will be felt most deeply in the cocaine suitcase sector, CBS and Warner Bros. also stand to lose should the star prove unable to return to making America stare blankly at Two And A Half Men. Specifically, a permanent shutdown could cost as much as $250 million in sweet, sweet syndication money, plus several millions more in ads—enough cash to refurbish a Victorian mansion and stock it with an ever-refreshing coterie of 21-year-old porn stars (for about a month). Of course, the network has already begun stocking up on repeats and putting a brave face on things, saying the loss of Sheen-subsidized revenue will be offset by “the reduced programming costs” for episodes they don’t have to make now. They have not, as of yet, begun to consider what would happen if Sheen dropped off the show entirely, but the idea of replacing him or soldiering on without him—maybe by having his character come back as an invisible ghost that only Jon Cryer can see, or switching him out with various actors a la I’m Not There—are obviously off the table. Most likely, however, Sheen will return and continue to collect enormous paychecks.