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Charlie Sheen on 'Two and a Half Men': 'If tonight is the end...so be it'

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charlie-sheenImage Credit: Albert L. Ortega/PR PhotosWhile still leaving the door open for an 11th hour negotiation ploy, Charlie Sheen issued a statement to People saying that if tonight’s taping of Two and A Half Men “is the end for me as Charlie Harper, so be it.” “Another journey has begun,” he continued. “I take from the experience 161 shows filled with a kaleidoscope of amazing experiences, memories, friendships and gratitude. I remain humbly inspired.”

The seven-year-old sitcom is set to tape its final episode of the season tonight on the Warner Bros. TV lot. It also marks the end of Sheen’s multi-year contract that has paid him a reported $800,000-plus per episode, which made him the highest paid actor in primetime. A cloud of uncertainty has enveloped the sitcom’s future when Sheen reportedly told friends last week that he hoped this year would be his last. “Much speculation and rumor has arisen from my current status surrounding Two and a Half Men,” Sheen said in his statement. “All of the numbers reported in the press are false. Claims from ‘inside sources’ regarding offers from the studio as well as my salary, on their best day, are without merit. Approaching the start of the current season and as far back as June ‘09, I submitted my terms for season eight to Warner Bros. and CBS respectfully.

“Both parties have known the score for over a year,” he continued. “In no way, has this been a hasty or negligent eleventh hour surprise. I offer this information out of love and respect to my crew, my on-set family, my writers, executive staff, as well as my real family, my dear friends and my loyal fans. We tape the final episode of the season this evening.”

Sheen’s publicist Stan Rosenfield said the actor was not attempting to wrangle more money out of Warner Bros. TV. “A negotiation ploy is something you do to get the best possible deal. Charlie told them what he wanted a year ago.”

It seems unlikely that CBS would want to continue the comedy without its popular star. Some insiders believe there’s still a chance Sheen may agree to an abbreviated schedule so Warner Bros. TV can fulfill its contract with CBS (the network already signed on the bottom line for two more seasons of the show, which is still primetime’s most-watched comedy). It wouldn’t be unprecedented for the sitcom to carry on without Sheen. Back in 1982, the final season of Laverne & Shirley aired without co-star Cindy Williams, albeit to pitiful results.

For more on Charlie Sheen’s status on Two and a Half Men:

Charlie Sheen wants out of Two and a Half Men

Two and a Half Men without Charlie Sheen: Would you watch?