Actor Charlie Sheen was fired Monday from his top-rated U.S. TV comedy Two and A Half Men after more than a week of insults to producers and manic interviews.
“After careful consideration, Warner Bros. Television has terminated Charlie Sheen’s services on Two and a Half Men effective immediately,” Warner Bros Television said in a statement.
Sheen, 45, is the highest paid actor on U.S. television, and Two and A Half Men is the most popular comedy for the CBS network.
But the remainder of the current season was cancelled 10 days ago after Sheen called producer and co-creator Chuck Lorre a “stupid, stupid little man.”
The actor followed up with a week of rambling, sometimes manic, TV and radio interviews boasting that he is “winning” and has “tiger blood”, while insisting he is drug-free and sober after a period of rehabilitation in January.
Sheen shrugged off Monday’s firing with a characteristic mixture of nonchalance and more insults.
“This is very good news,” he said in a statement obtained by celebrity website TMZ.com.
“They continue to be in breach, like so many whales. It is a big day of gladness at the Sober Valley Lodge because now I can take all of the bazillions ... and I never have to put on those silly shirts for as long as this warlock exists in the terrestrial dimension.”
A spokesman for Warner Bros. Television said on Monday that no decision had been made about the future of Two and A Half Men. The comedy, in which Sheen plays a womanizing bachelor, is a huge generator of advertising revenue for CBS and makes millions in syndication rights for Warner Bros. Television.
Sheen had a contract with the TV show that runs through to the end of the 2012 TV season. He said last week that the roughly $2-million per episode he was being paid was too low and demanded $3-million an episode. His lawyer also threatened a lawsuit unless he was paid for the eight cancelled episodes this season.
Sheen’s long-time publicist quit a week ago, saying he could no longer work effectively, and Sheen’s fellow cast and crew have been largely silent in the face of his bizarre tirades.
But the actor has found a huge popular following. He has attracted a record two million Twitter followers in less than a week, and hosted a live webcast Saturday that attracted more than 100,000 viewers.
Sirius XM radio launched a 24-hour channel last weekend exploring the media frenzy around Sheen’s behaviour and his popular new catchphrases.
The actor was involved in a series of drug and alcohol-related incidents in 2010, and pleaded guilty in August to an assault on his now ex-wife. Production on Two and A Half Men was shut down in late January when Sheen was persuaded to enter rehab – at his Los Angeles home – after a 36-hour cocaine-fueled party.
Audiences for Two and a Half Men have remained strong despite Sheen’s statements. Original episodes attract about 14 million U.S. viewers a week, and about 10 million tune in to watch repeats.