Report: Sheen wants to exit 'Men'

News raises uncertainty about future of CBS comedy

A Thursday report that Charlie Sheen wants to leave CBS' "Two and a Half Men" has raised uncertainty about the future of one of TV's top-rated comedies.

According to People magazine, Sheen had been telling friends that he plans to leave "Men" after the end the current seventh season when his contract is up and that he has rejected a renewal offer from producing studio Warner Bros. TV.

Sheen's spokesman confirmed that the highly paid actor has no deal beyond this season and that he had shared with friends his intention to leave "Men." Sheen has not issued a statement to that effect.

The report came as news to CBS and WBTV, with some insiders suggesting it might be a negotiation tactic.

Last year, CBS handed "Men" a three-year pickup to keep the show on the air through 2011-12. With Sheen's contract up and CBS already committed for two more seasons, the actor is in a prime position to call the shots during the negotiation.

If Sheen -- whose paycheck is said to be about $900,000 an episode -- does exit, it will create a difficult-to-fill vacancy in the delicate character balance of a popular broadcast comedy.

Sheen was involved in one of the rare successful recastings of a sitcom leading man deep into the show's run when he stepped in for Michael J. Fox on ABC's "Spin City," but replacing the lead on a family comedy is much more difficult than doing so on a workplace sitcom.

Although companion "The Big Bang Theory" has stepped up at 9:30 p.m. and become the top Monday comedy, "Men" remains a powerhouse in CBS' Monday block.

But "Men" has been beleaguered by Sheen's personal behavior in recent months. The star is awaiting trial on a felony menacing charge and two lesser counts resulting from a Christmas incident with his wife that could result in jail time. And the show recently halted production for several weeks after Sheen entered a rehab facility.
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