Les Moonves Breaks Silence on Sheen as Show’s Re-Run Ratings Improve

CBS boss says show does well in re-runs — and he’s right, as usual

Last Updated: March 1, 2011 @ 1:51 PM

CBS president Leslie Moonves says the network will be fine without new episodes of "Two and a Half Men" this season — and that cutting it short was actually a financial "gainer" in the near-term.

He also said he wished Sheen had made as many news media appearances for the show during Emmy season as he has in recent days, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Also read: How 'Two and a Half Men' Can Replace Charlie Sheen

Sheen is "on the air quite a bit these days," he said at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco, according to the Reporter. "I wish he would have worked this hard to promote himself for an Emmy."

"Going down the road…I don't know what's going to happen," Moonves said. "I hope it's back. We'll see."

Moonves noted that re-runs of the show do very well, and that while re-runs bring in less ad revenue, they are cheaper to run. He also clarified: "I'm not saying long-term I want this to go on."

On Monday, the show scored a 3.2/9 in the 18-49 demo, up from 3.0/8 for last week's rerun — suggesting that Sheen's latest media barrage drove up interest.

Sheen appeared Monday on NBC, ABC and CNN, where he helped boost "Piers Morgan Live" to its best ratings ever in the 24-54 demo: It scored 1.3 million viewers, 561,000 of them in the demo.

Also read: Sheen Backs Down from Demand for $3M an Episode

Unlike the loquacious Sheen, the show's creator is letting his vanity cards do the talking.

As TV's highest-paid actor appeared Monday night on "Piers Morgan Live" — and invited show creator Chuck Lorre to call into the show — Lorre was calmly arriving at a benefit for the Venice Family Clinic and avoiding the press line.

When TheWrap caught up with him inside and asked if he would continue the show without Sheen, Lorre was silent. Asked what he thought he would do, he replied, "I don't know," and returned to dinner.

He was chattier in a vanity card that appeared at the end of Monday's "Mike and Molly," in which he appeared to imitate Sheen's increasingly frantic interview style.

"I understand that I'm under a lot of pressure to respond to certain statements made about me recently," he wrote. "The following are my uncensored thoughts. I hope this will put an end to any further speculation."

What followed was a jumble about consciousness, drug and alcohol abuse, and — in case anyone couldn't tell he was kidding — zombies and Martians. He concluded: "The Fall from Grace is, in fact, a Sprint from Grace. Or perhaps more accurately, 'Screw Grace, I am so outta here!' Questions?"

The card served as his latest salvo in a war of words in which Sheen has tried to portray Lorre as the source of the show's troubles.

Sheen's lawyer, Marty Singer, sent a letter Monday to Warner Bros. TV claiming that the company and CBS ended the show for the season because Sheen insulted Lorre, not because of Sheen's condition.

The show shut down Jan. 28 when Sheen announced he was entering rehab, but Sheen has said since that he is ready to work and Lorre is not. It was shut down for the season after Sheen ripped Lorre in a radio rant last week and addressed Lorre repeatedly as "Chaim Levine."

He offered a sarcastic apology Monday in an interview excerpt that aired on "Good Morning America."

"I would say, um, I'm sorry if I offended you, I didn't know you were such a — I didn't know you were so sensitive. Sorry if I offended you. After you whaling on me for eight years I thought I could take a few shots back," Sheen said. "I didn't know you were going to take your little ball and go home and punish everyone in the process."

The interview was to air in its entirety Tuesday.

Lorre's birth name is Charles Levine, and "Chaim" is a Hebrew equivalent of Charles. The Anti-Defamation League has said it could be considered "borderline anti-Semitic" of Sheen to use Lorre's Hebrew name in the context of an angry rant. Sheen has denied anti-Semitism.

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