Michael Ansell/Warner Bros.
Michael Ansell/Warner Bros.
Anyone who's been following the personal travails (and what travails they've been) of Charlie Sheen over the past few months might have the nagging feeling there's only so much bad behavior (and PR) his network will take.
Well, today served as something of a judgment day, as CBS took center stage at the Television Critics Association press tour, and the question of whether or not Sheen's increasing public predilections have caused anyone over there to break a sweat (or consider punishment) was finally floated to the powers that be.
And the response?
"Obviously, we've thought—and I personally have thought a lot about this," said CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler. "We have a high level of concern. How could we not?
"But I have got to speak to this personally first. On a very basic human level, [we feel] concern, of course. This man is a father, he's got children, he has a family, so there is concern on a personal level, but you can't look at it simplistically."
Especially not when his show continues to be the highest-rated sitcom on TV.
"Charlie's a professional, he comes to work"—uh, most of the time—"he does his job extremely well, and it's very complicated."
But not complicated enough to stop production on the cash and ratings cow that is Two and Half Men.
"We shoot tonight," Tassler said, going to pay tribute to the production company's deft handling of the ever sticky situation.
"We have a very good relationship with Warner Bros. I have tremendous trust and respect in the way they're managing the situation. So, on a personal level, obviously concern. He does his job, he does it well, the show's a hit, that's really all I have to say."
But has she said any of this to Sheen himself?
"I don't know what personal information has been given to him," she said. "Right now the show continues to be as successful as it always has been."
However, that official party line wasn't enough for the gathered media, and Tassler was further pressed about Sheen, getting pulled up on questions about how Sheen would almost certainly be fired if he was in any other line of work.
"He's going to work and doing his job," she reiterated. "[He wouldn't] be fired for going to work and doing his job."
Still not content, reporters then asked when it may become time for the network to step in and control what seems to be their quite out of control star.
"It is [a] personal [problem]," she said. "And you know how I feel personally, I have said that. He's professional and Warner Bros. has been incredibly responsible in the way they've been handling the situation. I think I've said as much as I want to or feel obligated to say."
However, while Tassler was as diplomatic as we'd expect a network exec to be, not everyone got the keep-it-professional brief.
Enter Kirstie Alley, who decided to give Sheen some unsolicited if bang-on advice via Twitter.
"CHARLIE SHEEN…you have TWO beautiful girls…PERHAPS for the sake of these children, you can decide to QUIT hanging with PORN STARS & HOS," she tweeted.
More surprising was who took the bait.