Charlie Sheen 'Anger Management' Showrunner Search Narrows to Three Big Names (Exclusive)

Charlie Sheen-MAGIC Convention Las Vegas-2009
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"Cosby's" Tom Straw, "Mad About You's" Chris Case and "Roseanne's" Bruce Helford are in consideration to oversee the Lionsgate comedy.

The hunt for a showrunner to oversee Charlie Sheen's comeback comedy Anger Management has been narrowed down to three candidates.

Multiple sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the three contenders are experienced comedy writer-producers Tom Straw, Bruce Helford and Chris Case. Sources say each of these candidates has already met with Sheen, as well as Jon Feltheimer, cheif executive of Lionsgate, which is producing the show. Lionsgate did not immediately return a request for comment.

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Straw would bring to the show — loosely based on the 2003 film of the same name — strong comedy experience. His resume includes writer or producer credits on Cosby, Night Court, Parker Lewis and Grace Under Fire, among others. More recently, he has been a writer on CBS' The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Case, too, offers his fair share of comedy experience, from his work on Mad About You to Spin City to Reba. Earlier this year, he launched a George Segal, Jessica Walter comedy, Retired at 35, on TV Land.

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As for Helford, he's spent time on a collection of hit sitcoms, including Roseanne, George Lopez and The Drew Carey Show.

Securing a showrunner is a necessary step in getting the comedy off the ground. Once one of the candidates gets hired for the job, the comedy will be formally shopped to networks. As THR previously reported, the plan is to follow a variation on the "90-10" path pioneered by Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein, who originated the model for Tyler Perry's TV projects. 

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The team, which also includes Sheen's manager Mark Burg and producer Joe Roth, will produce six to 12 episodes with Sheen for a test run on a cable network, station group or even a digital service like Netflix. If those airings meet a certain ratings threshold, as many as 90 more would be ordered and produced.

Despite fears of Sheen's troubled past becoming potentially problematic on this project, several agents tell THR that they're willing to put their showrunners up for the job. As one put it, "it's a job, and potentially a long-running one."

Lionsgate declined to comment.

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