Sorry Charlie: 'Two And A Half Men' May Go On Charlie Sheen is the highest-paid actor on television and star of the highest-rated sitcom, Two and a Half Men. But now he's indicated he's ready to leave the show if he doesn't get even more money. This raises a question: Could the series continue without him? The Hollywood Reporter's Andrew Wallenstein thinks it can.
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Sorry Charlie: 'Two And A Half Men' May Go On

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Sorry Charlie: 'Two And A Half Men' May Go On

Sorry Charlie: 'Two And A Half Men' May Go On

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MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

Charlie Sheen is the highest-paid actor on television and the star of the highest-rated sitcom, "Two and a Half Men." But now, he's in contract negotiations, and he's indicated he's ready to leave the show if he doesn't get even more money. And that leaves some wondering: Could the series continue without him? Commentator Andrew Wallenstein says no problem.

ANDREW WALLENSTEIN: Sorry, Charlie: "Two and a Half Men" could have a future without you, unthinkable as it might sound. If you make good on your threat to go, well, we'll miss your sardonic wit.

(SOUNDBITE OF TELEVISION PROGRAM, "TWO AND A HALF MEN")

CHARLIE SHEEN: (As Charlie Harper) Uncle Charlie does not like to start his day with a squealing creature in his face.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

WALLENSTEIN: In fact, one of the best examples of this trend involves Sheen himself. When Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, he was forced to give up the lead role on the ABC comedy "Spin City."

(SOUNDBITE OF TELEVISION PROGRAM, "SPIN CITY")

MICHAEL J: (As Michael Flaherty) By 11 o'clock, this city is going to smell like a giant foot.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

WALLENSTEIN: But ABC replaced Fox with a new character played by Charlie Sheen. The ratings actually went up.

(SOUNDBITE OF TELEVISION PROGRAM, "SPIN CITY")

BARRY BOSTWICK: (As Mayor Randall M. Winston Jr.) Good morning everyone.

WALLENSTEIN: Comedies have been proving their durability as far back as 1969. Remember the sitcom "Bewitched"? Dick York vacated the role of the husband after five years. But Dick Sargent assumed his character for another three. And who can forget years later when Shelley Long shocked Hollywood by dropping out of "Cheers"? She was forgotten pretty quickly once Kirstie Alley came in.

(SOUNDBITE OF TELEVISION PROGRAM, "CHEERS")

KIRSTIE ALLEY: (As Rebecca Howe) Do you have the time?

TED DANSON: (As Sam Malone) 4:30.

ALLEY: (As Rebecca) Good because I just wanted to remember the exact moment I met the biggest jerk on earth.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

WALLENSTEIN: Now, I'm not suggesting every comedy ever was immune to cast changes. "Seinfeld" might have seemed to be missing something if it lacked, you know, "Seinfeld."

(SOUNDBITE OF TELEVISION PROGRAM, "SEINFELD")

JERRY SEINFELD: (As Jerry) Not that there's anything wrong with that.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

WALLENSTEIN: My bet is the writers and producers of "Two and a Half Men" are engaged in a pretty interesting creative exercise right about now. They might be wondering what brand-name actor could they bring in, and what kind of character could he play? I'd say it could be a she as well, but the show is called "Two and a Half Men."

BLOCK: Andrew Wallenstein is an editor at the Hollywood Reporter.

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