From Diane Haithman who’s covering the Television Critics Association meetings for Deadline Hollywood: At the TCA news conference this morning, CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler as well as TV showrunner Chuck Lorre addressed whether Charlie Sheen’s personal problems were affecting the future of the show Two And A Half Men. There’s a lot at stake: it’s the No. 1 comedy on TV, and the No. 1 scripted series in syndication. But Tassler called it “business as usual”, and Lorre remarked how the “audience was 1,000% behind us from the first moment we began to shoot”.
QUESTION: Nina, what kind of impact do you think Charlie Sheen’s arrest and domestic abuse charge will have on the show? And when something like that happens, what’s the network’s involvement in any of this, and what discussions do you have?
NINA TASSLER: Well, right now we’re being very sensitive to the fact that this is a very personal and very private matter for Charlie. There’s been no impact on the network right now. The show is proceeding along its regular project schedule. [We] taped a show last night. So right now there’s been no impact. I really have to credit Chuck, he’s here today. He’ll be talking on a panel later, but he runs a wonderful show, and right now it is business as usual for us.
In a panel directly following Tassler, Chuck Lorre and Lee Aronsohn, the co-creators and executive producers of Two And A Half Men at first joked with the critics about Sheen:
QUESTION: Well, how difficult is it to do a light comedy with Charlie in light of his recent arrest? Do you kind of ignore it, or is it something you deal with head on?
CHUCK LORRE: I’m sorry, what happened with Charlie? [Laughter.] I’m not — what happened?
LEE ARONSOHN: I don’t know. Something happened?
CHUCK LORRE: No, we’re just — we put on a show last night, and it went extremely well. We had a great week. And the audience was wonderful last night. So we’re just going about our business.
QUESTION: Is there any — how is he doing? And is it difficult for him to slip into that character in light of what’s going on in his personal life?
CHUCK LORRE: Charlie is a consummate pro. He shows up and he delivers. And last night was one of our strongest episodes. It was just terrific.