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Why did Warner Bros. decide not to submit Two and a Half Men for the outstanding comedy Emmy?
1. Because it was going to lose anyway. “How long has it been since Two and a Half Men has been nominated?” says Television Critics Association president Susan Young. “2008. It seemed to me the love started going away last year. If this had been a show that continually won Emmy Awards, it might have made sense to submit, but since they lost — and that was when everything was fine with it [before the Charlie Sheen fiasco]. Really, what’s the rush? Charlie Sheen had a good run, a really good run with the show, it’s probably time to cut his losses. He’s moving on, and CBS is moving on.” And CBS and Two and a Half Men producer Chuck Lorre have a way better Emmy shot with The Big Bang Theory.
2. Because after the Charlie Sheen fiasco, comedy was the wrong category. “Two and a Half Men backs out of the best comedy series Emmy race,” observed a Twitterer called GoatmealCrisp. “Makes sense, they’ve got a better chance in best reality series.”
3. Because Jon Cryer is likelier to win than the show was. Cryer won on the fourth of his five nominations, in 2009, and it’s conceivable that sympathy votes could loft him free of the PR mire the show is temporarily stuck in. Emmy campaign dollars are better spent on any cast member but Sheen, and now would be a good time to make Cryer feel valued. “It’s probably best to go into areas where they had noms,” says Young. Cryer, Conchata Ferrell and Holland Taylor have collectively racked up 11 noms. “Even Holland Taylor makes more sense to go with than Charlie,” says Young.
4. Because the best way to get past a scandal is to reboot. Emmy likes fresh news, and if Sheen’s replacement Ashton Kutcher can manage to make it seem fresh, not rewarmed, its Emmy odds could actually go up. “They might be saying, ‘Next year, if we have spectacular success with the reboot, maybe we can have some Emmy wins then,'” says Young.
5. Because now Charlie Sheen can’t show up to heckle Men co-creator Chuck Lorre’s best comedy acceptance speech. That would be awkward. However, the weird fact is that Sheen might actually (though not likely) have a reason to show up. An academy spokesperson tells THR he is eligible to enter this year’s Emmys — despite the fact that neither he nor anybody else submitted him for the race by the April 29 deadline. What saved Sheen’s candidacy was ATAS’ highly flexible interpretation of an obscure rule on page 32 of its Rules and Procedures book: “For those entering the competition on behalf on an entrant, if you choose to supply your own contact information, it is your responsibility to forward all Academy correspondence — in a timely manner — directly to the entrant. It is the responsibility of the person making the entry to list all eligible entrants.”
Since Sheen wasn’t listed and others did enter on time, Sheen has the option to enter the race for lead comedy actor.
Does he want to enter? Sheen’s rep has no comment. “I know that he’s very anxious when I’ve seen him backstage at the Emmys over the years,” says ATAS chair John Shaffner. “He becomes very anxious about the experience beforehand and after — it’s hard for him. It’s hard work. He’s a very shy guy.”
Perhaps Sheen simply forgot to apply. Last year, nobody submitted Neil Patrick Harris’ Tony Award hosting performance for an Emmy until blogger Chris Beachum wondered online why he wasn’t on the list, prodding officials to add his name pronto. Harris thanked Beachum in his acceptance speech.
Since Sheen would owe his Emmy in part to Lorre’s more punctual entry filing, in his acceptance speech, Sheen would logically have to thank him.
That’s a scene pundit Michael Musto hopes we’ll get to see. “I think [Two and a Half Men didn’t submit because of their own ill will toward Charlie and their acknowledgment of everyone else’s too,” says Musto. “They know people won’t be lining up to shower awards on anything starring the man who violently torpedoed his career. But deep down, the Emmy folks must be praying Charlie somehow makes it to the telecast. It would be amazing for ratings, and seeing as he won’t be leaving with any trophies, no one needs be duly embarrassed. They should ask him to present, to guarantee his inclusion.”
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