Dramatic Details Behind Charlie Sheen's $100 Million Two and Half Men Deal Revealed
With the deal signed just last year, before Sheen was fired from the show, the actor's manager Mark Burg reveals never-known details of how the negotiation went down with CBS chief Les Moonves.
Charlie Sheen negotiated his $100 million contact on Two and a Half Men in 2010 between the National Anthem and the start of a Lakers game, the June issue of Vanity Fair reports.
"Don't ever play poker with him," Sheen's manager, Mark Burg, tells the magazine. Recalling the contract negotiations, Burg says, "Warner Bros. was like, ‘We’re offering a million dollars [per episode] for two years, and nobody walks away from $48 million.’ I said, ‘Guys, he’s going to walk. I’m not bluffing.’”
Burg tells the magazine that CBS chairman Les Moonves "had two different schedules—one if Charlie didn’t come back,” before caving into Sheen's money demands -- and making him the highest-paid TV star in history. VIDEO: Charlie Sheen's bizarre television interviews
"It wasn’t until the day before the up-fronts that I picked up my son at school, and we were driving to a Laker playoff game, and I had Charlie and his attorney Jake Bloom on speakerphone the entire drive down," says Burg. "At the time they were up to $72 million, a million and a half an episode. Jake gave Charlie a 25-minute speech about how this will set your grandchildren up and you could do whatever you want. ‘This is more than Kelsey Grammer made on Frasier.’"
"I parked the car, I’m now on my cell phone, walking into the stadium, and Charlie goes, ‘Pass. Mark, it’s a hundred million or I’m not doing it.’ Charlie hangs up, and Jake called up Bruce Rosenblum [president of Warner Bros. Television Group] and Les Moonves and passed during the national anthem," he goes on. "I’m like, ‘Wow, I hope he knows what he’s doing.”
But before the game even started, "they said yes [to $100 million]."
Burg also remembers Sheen's first encounter with Men co-creator Chuck Lorre, with whom he now has a contentious relationship. STORY: Five things you didn't know about Chuck Lorre
“It was a really depressing meeting,” Burg says. "Chuck wanted Charlie, and he kind of pitched the show, but there was no script yet. Chuck’s dog had just passed away, and he was sad. He kept talking about the dog.”
Sheen wasn't convinced to do the show after that initial meeting: "I’ve got to read the script,” Sheen said.
When he eventually received the script, it "was awesome, it was great,” Burg says, “the best half-hour show on television.”
Still, Sheen said, "Pass."
"You know, you can’t talk Charlie into doing anything," Burg says. " He was nervous about acting with a kid. Angus [Jones] was what, six or seven?" PHOTOS: Charlie Sheen's memorable career moments
Eventually, Sheen decided to do the show. "The script was so strong. It had ‘hit show’ written all over it. We talked about story lines and where it would go, and Chuck and Charlie sat down creatively."
The article also explains how a then-sober Sheen helped his actor pal Tom Sizemore get over his addiction to drugs. PHOTOS: Charlie Sheen's wacky Twitpics
"I get a honking at my gate, and a girl I was seeing runs down and runs back and says, ‘It’s Charlie Sheen,’” Sizemore says, “so they let him in, and he went into my backyard, and he sat there for two days.”
Despite his best attempts to ignore him, Sheen said, "Tom, come over here and talk to me. Let me take you to [rehab centers] Promises or to Exodus. Let’s just go." PHOTOS: Charlie Sheen on tour
Sizemore then sneaked out his front door. "I came back at five in the morning. He’s still there."
Sheen wrote him a note that read, "I don’t know how deeply enmeshed you are with the dope. But I know this: the only thing one can do when one starts doing dope the way you do and I do is stop. Otherwise, you’re going to ruin your life and career, go to prison, have a terrible life, or all of the above. Here’s my number. Call me.'"
The article also claims that Sheen agreed to do an interview with Vanity Fair, and then demanded $1 million and editorial control. When the magazine declined, Sheen pulled out.