"Two and a Half Men" has earned reliable ratings even as CBS aired reruns during its dispute with Charlie Sheen — but the show slipped 13 percent in the key demo on the night of his firing, acccording to preliminary ratings.
The show scored a 3.2 rating/9 share in the 18-49 demo and 11.6 million total viewers last week, as Sheen went on a frenzied media blitz that may have boosted numbers for the week. But Monday, when the star was fired, the show's ratings fell to a 2.8/8 and 10.1 million total viewers — still respectable, but down.
It may not be a clear sign that viewers are exhausted by the Sheen saga: This week the show was almost completely surrounded by re-runs. Compared to the show's seasonal averge for re-runs, last night was even in adults 18-49 and down about 5 percent in total viewers.
But this week's slip adds to the pressure on CBS and Warner Bros. TV, which produces the show, to decide what to do with it. Still on track to be a billion-dollar property for Warner Bros., it will live on in syndication whether or not the studio and CBS try to continue it without its volatile linchpin.
Except for a new episode of "Mad Love," CBS ran nothing but reruns Monday. Last week, its shows were new, except for "Hawaii 5-O" and "Men," which went on hiatus Jan. 28 with Sheen's announcement he was starting rehab.
Surrounded by reruns, "Mad Love" posted its weakest rating ever, a 2.4/7.
Fox won the night with originals of "House" and "The Chicago Code." "House" had nearly 11 million viewers and a 3.8/11, while "Chicago" had a a 2.1/6, the same as last week, and 7.5 million total viewers.
ABC's "The Bachelor" scored a 3.1/9 and 9.9 million total viewers from 8-10 p.m. with its "Women Tell All" episode, leading into next week's finale. A "Castle" rerun afterward scored a 1.4/4 and 5.7 million viewers.
The return of NBC's "The Event" scored only a 1.4/4 and 5.2 million total viewers between 8-10, while "Harry Law," at 10, scored 1.8/5 and 9.4 million total viewers.
As for the rest of CBS' lineup of rereuns: "How I Met Your Mother" at 8 p.m. scored a 2.0/6 and 6.4 million total viewers; "Mike & Molly" at 9:30 scored a 2.6/7 and 9.3 million total viewers, and "Hawaii 5-O" at 10 had a 2.0/6 and 7.6 million total viewers.
"Mad Love" airs at 8:30 and "Two and a Half Men" — for now — at 9.