The clock is ticking on CBS and Warner Bros. Television to come up with a Two and a Half Men solution.
With the CBS upfront presentation now a week away, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the studio, network and Men executive producer Chuck Lorre have set their sights on a new unidentified actor to replace Charlie Sheen in the wake of Hugh Grant passing on the role.
As THR first reported on April 28, Lorre has hatched a plan to reboot TV’s most-watched sitcom without Sheen, who was fired in the wake of his erratic behavior and tirades against Lorre and other executives.
The studio and network would like to have an actor in place before CBS’ annual upfront presentation to advertisers May 18 in New York, though sources say that the network could still choose to punt Men until midseason or — in a worst-case scenario — cancel the show entirely. That option is still unlikely, given the hundreds of millions of dollars at stake for CBS and WB, though Lorre could decide he is unable to make the show work creatively.
As the search for a new star continues, the Wall Street Journal reports that CBS and WBTV have agreed on terms to split the cost of whoever replaces Sheen.
Landing a top-tier actor will not come cheap, given the spotlight on the show and the creative risk inherent in stepping into the show in the wake of such a high-profile exit. Sources say Grant was offered a per-episode fee in the $600,000 range.