LOS ANGELES — The premier of Charlie Sheen’s former show “Two and a Half Men” was a ratings triumph for his replacement Ashton Kutcher, figures showed Tuesday, after the sacked star faced a double TV roasting.
The perennially troubled actor — who is reportedly close to a multi-million-dollar legal deal over his sacking in March — offered an olive branch earlier this week, wishing the hit show all the best for its new season.
But the newly-contrite actor must be biting his lip even harder after Monday night’s premier drew the show’s largest audience ever — 27.8 million, according to preliminary Nielsen estimates cited by Variety daily.
Sheen was fired from the show — which has been a hit since it was launched in 2003 and has been nominated for numerous awards — after lashing its producer Chuck Lorre in a series of colorful interviews.
The actor, who has a long history of hard partying and scandal, became an Internet sensation as he appeared to be heading for a career meltdown, or “self-inflicted disintegration” as his former employees called it.
To add insult to injury, he was subjected to “sometimes brutal” attacks on television on Monday night, in the “Roast of Charlie Sheen” show on the Comedy Channel, barely minutes after the Sheen-less “Two and a Half Men” aired.
“It’s amazing — after abusing your lungs, liver and kidneys, the only thing you’ve had removed is your kids,” said actress Kate Walsh, one of those lining up to attack Sheen on the show.
“The comedians took a no-holds barred approach, taking aim at Sheen’s history of employing prostitutes and using drugs,” noted Entertainment Weekly, while noting that Sheen “seemed to take it all in stride.”
Sheen has appeared chastened in chat-show appearances in the last week, and used an appearance on the annual Emmys television awards show Sunday night to wish his former “Two and a Half Men” colleagues well for the coming season.
The actor filed a lawsuit seeking $100 million from Warner Brothers and the producers of “Two and a Half Men” after he was sacked — and after his olive branch at the Emmys, there are reports he is close to settling a deal.
Variety reported Tuesday that Sheen and Warners are closed to an agreement that would drop the lawsuit and include a payment of around $25 million for the actor.