'Two and a Half Men' Shutdown Could Cost CBS, Warner Bros. Millions

10:11 PM PST 01/30/2011 by Marisa Guthrie
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Courtesy of CBS
Charlie Sheen in "Two and a Half Men"

Up to $250 million in domestic syndication deals -- as well as millions more in ad revenue -- are in jeopardy as star Charlie Sheen heads back to rehab.

As Charlie Sheen heads back to a rehabilitation facility, weeks of salacious headlines are now giving way to a steep financial price for the star's behavior.

In fact, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that if Two and a Half Men is forced to shut down permanently, it could jeopardize as much as $250 million in domestic syndication revenue for producer Warner Bros. Television and millions more in lost ad revenue for CBS.

In its eighth season, Men is the most-watched comedy on television, averaging 14.7 million viewers, while it is second only to ABC's Modern Family among the ad-coveted younger demographic of 18-49-year-olds. CBS sells 30-second spots in Men for more than $200,000, according to media buyers, generating more than $3 million per episode. Kantar Media reports that the show grossed CBS more than $155 million in ad revenue last season alone.

And Men also is the network's linchpin on Monday nights, helping to launch successful comedies including The Big Bang Theory and most recently Mike & Molly (both from Men co-creator and executive producer Chuck Lorre). There are currently only two new episodes of Menthat have not yet aired, and while CBS will save on license fees if production remains shut down, the loss of new Menwill certainly impact the overall performance of its Monday night lineup.

In a statement released to THR on Sunday, CBS again expressed concern for Sheen's well-being but sought to distance the network from any potential deleterious effect of the actor's behavior.

"Looking forward, the financial impact of the shutdown is not material to CBS," the statement says. "Any ratings declines will be more than offset by the reduced programming costs for episodes lost this season. We will begin to address the scheduling issues this week. The network is strong and deep with hit series; we're not reliant on one show. In addition, Two and a Half Menhas always performed well in repeats, and we have the option of ordering additional episodes of other popular comedies on the network."

At this point, the final two new episodes are scheduled to air Feb. 7 and 14. (The first is fittingly titled "Three Hookers and a Philly Cheesesteak," according to the CBS schedule.)

NEXT PAGE: The impact on Warner Bros.

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