Charlie Sheen has done a lot of TV the past two years. A lot.
The actor has shot 90 episodes of FX's Anger Management, appears of course in Two and a Half Men reruns, and is now gunning for a return to the CBS comedy he was fired from three years ago.
"I think I am on, like, 14 times a week or something ridiculous," Sheen tells E! News. "But when are people going to get sick of me?" Then he adds with a laugh, "And you are like, 'They already are buddy. That already happened.'"
We'll let you all be the judge of that. But the question now is not only will happen with the final season of Men (sources tell us a return for Sheen is not happening), but the fate of Anger Management, which has aired a new episode almost every week (minus a couple short breaks) since January 13. In 2012, after the first season premiered to nearly 6 million viewers—a record for a cable sitcom—the series was picked up for an unprecedented 90-episode season 2. This week, Anger Management went into syndication, and E! News talked to Sheen all about the insanity of being one of the busiest shows on TV, and whether it will continue...
E! News Did you think when you started the show in 2012 that it would be this successful?
Charlie Sheen: I always try to stay neutral when I start anything so there are no expectations and no real disappointments. I knew we had something after we shot the first 10 and then we hit that number to get the pick-up. Then I could feel the way Bruce Helford was crafting the show, and the cast he surrounded me with and especially the writers. I could feel that we had something that just felt unique. We were working at a crazy pace but we weren't sacrificing quality for production. It's kind of insane to be sitting here today to think when I go back to work I will be working on episode 90. It's been such a journey. They are talking about some kind of a pickup. If that happens then great, if it doesn't, it's been the best working experience I have ever had.
Do you think Anger will get the pickup?
If the people respond. If everyone loves it and they want more than I would absolutely do whatever the next block would be—it would be hard to commit to a hundred right off the back. It's a steep mountain to climb. But if they wanted 25, or 50...Yeah, never leave a hit show unless you are FIRED, heh, heh, heh. Anyway.
What was it like to get a pick up for a show in such massive quantity. It was the first of its kind.
It was a little daunting. A little bit unnerving. We thought, 'Wow, OK, so they bought the concept and now we have to deliver the material.' I was honored because what they projected for presales and what they actually did, it really spoke to the people's interest in me as a comedic actor and it was beyond flattering when they say we have this much faith in you and they write the check and then you just have to figure how to deliver.
How does it work doing a show where everything is done so rapid-fire?
You don't have all the rehearsal time. We didn't do all the run-throughs during the week...When you do a traditional sitcom, you go down on a Tuesday at 2 p.m. and you think that is it? Even if you are reading on a Monday 41 minutes. But this one, you get a script the night before and then go learn seven or eight scenes.
Do you think that benefited the show, with everyone being more engaged?
Yes. You have less time to wander. Less time to get distracted. Once you are there you are pretty much shot in front of a cannon. And what is also very impressive is the guest stars that would come on and adapt immediately to our pace. Because we are well-oiled machine. They would block it and call action and the only thing you are really certain about is the clothes that you are wearing. Because the words. Luckily, I have a notebook in my lap and during the therapy scenes, that is where my dialogue sits and if not, we would still be shooting the first 10.
Did you think you would reach this syndication point when you first started?
I am really proud of it. I am excited it is going to be on in enough places, in enough time slots for people who haven't seen it otherwise will finally be able to see it for the first time. And geez, between that and Two and Half I think I am on, like, 14 times a week or something ridiculous. But when are people going to get sick of me? And you are like, 'They already are buddy. That already happened.' [laughs] But no, just to be given a second chance and to be given autonomy, the crew and the cast and some of the story lines have really guided it in a way that have really worked well for myself. And people have come on and said that it was the nicest work environment. It's been an interesting run. And we only have 12 left and we are all going to embrace it and we have left something brilliant behind or at least something very good. Entertaining and people can forget a while about their own problems. And if it goes on, awesome. I'm really proud of what we did.
Are you going to take a vacation?
I would love to but there are a couple of movies that I am looking at so there is scheduling things and I wouldn't have that much time off. I will be back on a movie for 3 days begging for this schedule.
Anger Management airs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on FX.
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