CBS Plans While Sheen Is in Rehab
Mike and Molly, Rules of Engagement
CBS is already plotting its Monday night contingency plans, in the event that Two and a Half Men remains shut down for a prolonged period of time while Charlie Sheen is in rehab.
The network on Monday ordered two additional episodes of the couples comedy Rules of Engagement, bumping that show's episodic order from 24 to 26. CBS was also close to ordering two additional episodes of freshman comedy Mike & Molly, which airs on Monday nights after Two and a Half Men, and, like Men, comes from executive producer Chuck Lorre. The decision to order additional episodes of both Rules of Engagement and Mike & Molly is a direct result of the Two and a Half Men situation, the network said.
CBS was set to air a previously scheduled repeat of Two and a Half Men this week; the network will then run the last two already-shot original episodes of the sitcom on February 7 and February 14. After that, CBS will have to run repeats of Men for the time being. Luckily for the network, the sitcom performs well even in repeats. This season, Two and a Half Men reruns have averaged 10.6 million viewers — a larger audience than original episodes of every ABC, NBC and Fox half-hour, with the exception of ABC's Modern Family, which averages 14.6 million viewers in originals.
CBS and Warner Bros. TV still don't know how long production on Two and a Half Men will be shut down, or if Charlie Sheen — currently in an undisclosed rehab facility — will be back before the end of the season. But in a statement, CBS said the financial impact facing the network will be minimal. "Any ratings declines will be more than offset by the reduced programming costs for episodes lost this season," the network said. Warner Bros. TV isn't as lucky — with production shut down, the studio loses license fees from CBS and will also end up with fewer episodes this season in syndication.
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