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Which TV network might air a Charlie Sheen sitcom loosely based on the movie Anger Management? With the announcement of the planned project Monday, buzz centered around several cable outlets and broadcast groups that could be homes for the show from syndicator Debmar-Mercury, a subsidiary of Lionsgate.
But one obvious potential buyer, TBS, is not among those in line. Like Warner Bros. the producer of Sheen’s last sitcom Two And A Half Men, TBS is part of Time Warner. With Warners and Sheen locked in a heated arbitration over his firing from TV’s No. 1 sitcom, a deal with any TW-owned company is unlikely.
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“TBS is not in discussions for a project with Charlie Sheen,” the network tells THR in a statement. But several sources say there is little to no chance that any division of Time Warner — including sister network TNT — will get in business with Sheen any time soon.
That is significant because TBS has been a frequent partner of Debmar-Mercury on launching shows, in particular the Tyler Perry comedies House of Payne and Meet the Browns.
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Debmar Mercury’s Ira Bernstein and Mort Marcus are known for pioneering an innovative “10-90” distribution model originated for Perry’s TV projects. The partners will look to employ some variation of the same model with Sheen.
The idea is to produce eight to 12 episodes as a kind of pilot, and then test it on a platform, which might be a cable network or a station group. If those airings meet a certain ratings threshold, then another 90 or so would be ordered for a full-scale national launch. Sheen would be given a financial interest in the show, helping to incentivize him to perform.
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Among the cable outlets that might be interested in Sheen’s services are the News Corp.-owned FX, which carries Two and a Half Men reruns; Viacom’s Comedy Central (which has previously partnered with Debmar-Mercury) and male-focused Spike TV; and potentially USA Network.
On the broadcast side, the station groups owned by Fox and Tribune are expected to seriously consider the Sheen show.
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A wild card in any deal might be interest from digital partners such as Hulu and Netflix.
And, of course, finding a top showrunner for the project is a priority. That could be a tough task given that Sheen’s last boss, Men co-creator Chuck Lorre, was trashed in the media and sued by the actor.
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