The "news" that Charlie Sheen wants out of Two and a Half Men is nothing but a bargaining tool for more money.
So says a source close to the actor. "He leaked it to light some fire under their asses to get what he wants," the source says.
His rep, however, insists, "Charlie did not leak the story."
If Sheen really does want out, a show insider tells us, he hasn't bothered to break the bad news to anyone actually involved with the sitcom…
"When everyone saw the first story about him wanting to leave, it was like, 'What the f--k? Where did that come from?' " the insider says. "No one heard anything about this—not his costars, the studio, no one."
People was the first to report that Sheen has said he was done with the show. "People magazine reported that Charlie told friends that he did not wish to come back to the show," his rep tells me. "While he has told friends that, he has made no announcement, made no statement or addressed any aspect of this story."
Sheen's current contract ends with this season's final episode, which will be shot April 9. A rep for Warner Bros. told E! News yesterday that the studio does not comment on "contracts or negotiations."
The insider says if Sheen actually does walk, he probably won't be getting a goodbye party. "The show really can't go on without him," the insider explains. "That could mean a lot of people out of work and looking for new jobs."
Can Sheen really be serious about moving on? "That makes no sense," the insider says. "Why on earth would he walk away from all that money? The show has stood behind him through all his personal stuff. He owes it to them and, more important, it's just too much money not to keep on going."
Plus, where would Sheen go after Two and a Half Men? "He's an insurance liability," the insider explains. "He'd probably have a hard time getting other roles because things aren't exactly stable with Charlie. He already cost Two and a Half Men some big money when they had to stop production so he could go to rehab."
(Originally published April 2, 2010, at 8:13 a.m. PT)
In other TV news, Cory Monteith recently told us what he thinks is in store for Glee's Finn and Rachel. Get the scoop right here.