Charlie Sheen: Too Big to Pull

CBS kept the company line when discussing Charlie Sheen, who stars as a cad on TV’s most successful comedy and ends up in headlines for his cavorting with call girls and porn stars

Just as Chuck Lorre played dumb for a joke when the issue came up during the last TV critics press tour, CBS president Nina Tassler had her own deadpan response when the star of “Two of a Half Men” became the first question she faced Friday morning in an executive session.

“Well. I didn’t really expect that question this morning,” she said for the sake of amusement (her own). “I’m really taken by surprise.”

Was she really poking fun at reporters for bringing up this question? Because it was so obvious? How about receiving the message that the question keeps coming up because the issue doesn’t go away?

Any other star of an 8 o’clock comedy might have been pulled or penalized by its network, but not in this case.

“Look,” she said at last, “obviously, we’ve thought, and I personally have thought, a lot about this, and we have a high level of concern.  How could we not?  But I have to speak to this personally first… on a very basic, human level, concern, of course. This man is a father. He’s got children.  He has a family.  So, obviously, there’s concern on a personal level.  But you can’t look at it simplistically.”

Because he continues to make a lot of money for the company. She didn’t say that explicitly but she did say the guy does his job.

“Charlie is a professional,” Tassler said. “He comes to work. He does his job extremely well.  We are taping  tonight, and as I said, it’s very complicated, but we have a very good relationship with Warner Bros. I have a tremendous trust and respect in the way they are managing the situation.  So, on a personal level: obviously concerned.  On a professional level, he does his job.  He does it well.”

And perhaps the biggest reason Sheen continues to be untouched ended her statement:

“The show is a hit, and that’s really all I have to say.  Next question.”

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