Robert Voets/Warner Bros.
CBS has ordered two additional episodes of Monday sitcoms Mike and Molly and Rules of Engagement to help cope with scheduling issues arising from the absence of Charlie Sheen from the hit show Two and a Half Men, according to sources.
These extra shows will fill in a schedule with sudden holes caused by the absence of Sheen, who reportedly is attempting a rehabilitation program at home
with a trained expert in addiction. (Sheen's spokesperson Stan Rosenfield tells THR
: "In compliance with the national health privacy laws (HIPPA), no further information relating to Charlie Sheen's health or his rehab experience will be released without his written permission. I can say that all of us who know Charlie care about him very much. We will support him in any we can in this journey, beginning by respecting his privacy.)
TMZ has reported that Sheen, who was admitted to a Los Angeles hospital last week complaining of abdominal pains, will be unable to work for three months. A CBS source says that the network has not been informed that Sheen will be out for the season, but his absence would leave CBS short of eight episodes of the planned 24-episode season (there has been no serious talk of shooting the series around his absence).
Warner Bros. Television, which makes Men and Mike (both from WBTV-based executive producer Chuck Lorre), would not comment on the additional episode order. TMZ claimed WBTV and CBS played a role in selecting the addiction specialist treating Sheen, but Warners would not comment on what role it played (if any) in locating the expert. Neither CBS nor Sony Pictures Television, which makes Rules, immediately responded to requests for comment.
CBS has said in a statement that a shutdown of Men "is not material" to the network. "Any ratings declines will be more than offset by the reduced programming costs for episodes lost this season," the network said.
Describing its schedule as "strong and deep with hit series," CBS said it is not reliant on one show. "In addition, Two and a Half Men has always performed well in repeats," the network said.