This is an announcement of the completion of the deal for the project, based on the 2003 Jack Nicholson-Adam Sandler movie Anger Management, which is in early stages and still has no network or writer attached. On the show, Sheen will play an updated version of the Nicholson’s character in the Joe Roth-produced movie, a volatile anger management therapist. “I chose Anger Management because, while it might be a big stretch for me to play a guy with serious anger management issues, I think it is a great concept,” Sheen quipped. While Lionsgate TV will produce, a key point is the involvement of the company’s subsidiary Debmar-Mercury as a distributor, meaning that the Anger Management sitcom will probably be done under the model created by Debmar-Mercury co-heads Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein and pioneered on the Tyler Perry TBS sitcoms House of Payne and Meet the Browns. The Anger Management series is being co-produced by Roth who previously teamed with Debmar-Mercury on another TBS sitcom under the company’s model that was based on a movie, Ice Cube’s Are We There Yet? The model, which so far has only been applied on cable, primarily on TBS, involves a significant ownership stake for the talent, something the release below indicates Sheen is receiving on Anger Management, as well as a short, usually 10-episode, initial network order followed by a massive 90-episode pickup when ratings thresholds are met. (That allows Debmar-Mercury to also launch the series in broadcast syndication.) The question is which network will gamble on a show starring a volatile star like Sheen, who is still embroiled in a $100-million lawsuit with Warner Bros. and Chuck Lorre over his firing from Two and a Half Men, and which writer will sign on to develop the series with him. TBS would still be a main target though the cable network would’ve had stronger motivation to gamble on the new series if it still had the the off-network rights to Two and a Half Men, which it surrendered to FX this past fall. But TBS, which is a corporate sibling of Warner Bros. TV, has indicated that it isn’t interested. Here is the release:
Los Angeles, July 18, 2011 — Former Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen is planning his return to series television in Anger Management, a new sitcom loosely based on Revolution Studios’ 2003 hit comedy feature of the same name. Lionsgate-owned Debmar-Mercury, headed by Co-Presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein, will distribute the series that will be produced by Lionsgate Television, led by Television Group President Kevin Beggs and COO Sandra Stern; Joe Roth and Revolution Studios’ Vince Totino; Sheen manager Mark Burg’s production company, Evolution Management; and Robert Maron.
Sheen will retain a significant ownership stake in the series inspired by the film, in which a mild-mannered, non-confrontational man is ordered to attend group anger management sessions led by a therapist who could probably use some anger management himself.
“I chose Anger Management because, while it might be a big stretch for me to play a guy with serious anger management issues, I think it is a great concept,” Sheen said. “It also provides me with real ownership in the series, a certain amount of creative control and the chance to be back in business with one of my favorite movie producers of all time, Joe Roth.”
Roth and Sheen have worked together on five features, including Major League, Young Guns and Three Musketeers.
“Who better than Charlie Sheen to tackle Anger Management,” Roth said. “With Charlie’s incredible talent and comedic gifts, he remains the leading man of TV sitcoms. I’m excited to collaborate with him once again.”
Roth is also currently working with Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury and Ice Cube’s Cube Vision on the TBS hit Are We There Yet? It is one of three hugely successful sitcoms (along with Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and Meet The Browns) that are the result of a unique sitcom business model created by Marcus and Bernstein.
Marcus and Bernstein said in a joint statement, “Our sitcom model is all about building well-known brands around extraordinary talents like Charlie that, thanks to their large profit participation, are highly motivated to succeed. It’s not every day you can roll out a sitcom featuring the star of the biggest TV comedy of the past decade.”
“We always look for series ideas that are noisy, accessible and relevant,” said Lionsgate’s Kevin Beggs. “Charlie Sheen in Anger Management takes those criteria to a whole new level and we are thrilled to be in business with him, Evolution, Debmar-Mercury and Revolution Studios on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. With a star of Charlie’s magnitude, a producer as venerable as Joe Roth and a branded property as compelling as Anger Management, this show has unique upside while still adhering to our disciplined business model.”
Said Burg, one of the creative forces behind Lionsgate’s SAW franchise, the most popular long-running horror franchise of all time, and a former executive producer of Two and a Half Men, “We have been fielding numerous offers for Charlie since his departure from Two and a Half Men, but none were as creatively and financially compelling as the package that Lionsgate, Debmar-Mercury, and Revolution presented us with Anger Management.”
The deal was negotiated on behalf of Debmar-Mercury and Lionsgate by Sandra Stern. Sheen was represented by Jake Bloom and Leigh Brecheen of Bloom, Hergott, Diemer, Rosenthal, Laviolette & Feldman. Revolution and Joe Roth were represented by Matt Johnson of Ziffren Brittenham LLP.
Charlie Sheen, who has starred in more than 40 feature films, catapulted to fame in such critical and commercial hits as Platoon and Wall Street. His other feature film credits include Major League, Red Dawn, Lucas, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Eight Men Out, Young Guns, Hot Shots!, Hot Shots! Part Deux, The Three Musketeers, The Chase, Money Talks, Being John Malkovich, Scary Movie 3, Scary Movie 4 and The Big Bounce. He also appeared in the television movies Rated X and Good Advice.
Sheen became known to television audiences through his Golden Globe Award-winning lead role in Spin City. In 2003, Sheen was cast as Charlie Harper in the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men, which was loosely based on Sheen’s bad boy image. The role garnered him an ALMA Award as well as three Emmy Award and two Golden Globe Award nominations for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series.
In 2011, Sheen set a new Guinness World Record for Twitter as the “Fastest Time to Reach 1 Million Followers,” adding an average of 129,000 new followers per day. On March 10, 2011, Sheen announced a 22-date nationwide tour, “My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat Is Not An Option,” which kicked off in Detroit on April 2. The tour sold out in 18 minutes, a Ticketmaster record.