This might qualify as “winning,” after all: the new Charlie Sheen sitcom project Anger Management has found a home at FX. The cable channel, which already airs reruns of his old show, Two and a Half Men, as part of its non-primetime schedule, has ordered 10 episodes of the series with a premiere date set for summer 2012.
Sheen’s departure from the CBS series was punctuated by his bragging about all the opportunities that were coming his way, which seemed like bravado. What legitimate producers and networks would want to get involved with a man who has a checkered legal past, and who threw away the most lucrative job in primetime so he could party with porn stars and attack his boss with babblings about tiger blood?
But a team of producers, including Joe Roth, who has worked with Sheen on several films, came up with the idea for Anger Management, based loosely on the 2003 Adam Sandler film. They then hired a legitimate name in comedy to serve as the main creative force: Bruce Helford, best known for executive producing The Drew Carey Show. Now, there’s a deal in place with FX, which obligates the channel to buy a whopping 90 additional episodes of Anger Management if the first 10 reach a pre-determined rating.
This could wind up being awfully lucrative for Sheen, who is listed as a producer. FX is a better fit for his brand than other options such as TBS, because it is somewhat more upscale (given series like Justified and Sons of Anarchy), it has the Two and a Half Men connection, and it isn’t associated with Time Warner (the studio that fired him earlier this year) like TBS. A successful Sheen sitcom might allow FX to continue to carry shows like Louie, The League, and Archer, which have more critical acclaim than viewers. And the other two FX comedies, Wilfred and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, may be the only two shows on television more crude than Two and a Half Men.
Now we’ll just see if Sheen can make these first 10 episodes before the inevitable next “incident.” They might want to conclude filming before New Year’s Eve, just to be safe.