Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV Coverage.
UPDATE 1:30 PM: During the HRTS’ State of the Industry panel, Lionsgate TV Group president Kevin Beggs was again asked about his company’s decision to develop a series with troubled actor Charlie Sheen. He maintained that being in business with the king of misbehavior is “not as big a risk as you might think. He’s been on a show for eight years, and the (production) model we’re employing compresses the time period way down (from a typical network sitcom production).” Beggs concluded, “There’s risk in everything you do, but we think that we’re going to insulate ourselves as best we can,” after noting earlier, “If Charlie isn’t a good fit with Anger Management, we don’t know what we’re doing.”
PREVIOUS 12:45 PM:Lionsgate TV Group President Kevin Beggs told Deadline a few minutes ago that there is as yet no target network or showrunner in place for the announced Charlie Sheen-attached TV series project based on the 2003 Jack Nicholson-Adam Sandler feature Anger Management. It’s being produced jointly by Lionsgate TV and Debmar-Mercury, producer of the TBS sitcoms House of Payne and Meet the Browns. Beggs, who serves as HRTS president, confirmed while rushing in to participate on an HRTS Luncheon panel at the Beverly Hilton that the series will “follow the model pioneered by (Debmar-Mercury co-heads) Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein. They’re really the innovators of this.” That likely means a similar format to the pair of TBS sitcoms that calls for an initial short order of 10 episodes or so followed by a huge 90-episode pickup — essentially, the fastest way to 100 syndication-ready episodes as possible).
While Beggs declined even to speculate about a possible network home for Anger Management or a short list of potential showrunners — saying “We’re just starting this process” — he was quick to defend the hiring of a loose cannon lime Sheen. “Charlie’s the consummate professional” he said. “His work speaks for itself obviously. He’s got a charismatic, larger-than-life personality and isn’t afraid to speak out loud. But he’s very focused on getting back to work and finding the right vehicle, and we think we’ve found it.” And no concerns about Sheen’s getting insured for another show? Beggs: “No.”