Image Credit: Greg Gayne/Warner Bros.Charlie Sheen’s time off for rehabilitation is coming to an end.
Two and A Half Men will resume production on Feb. 28, EW has learned. The studio, which produces the No. 1 comedy for CBS, will only make 4 more episodes of Men before wrapping its seventh season — 4 fewer episodes than what was originally promised to the network.
The last original episode that CBS had in the can before the show went on hiatus aired on Feb. 14. It attracted a timeslot-winning 14.5 million viewers. Until the return of this final batch of original episodes, CBS is expected to stay the course on Mondays and air Men reruns — which still do better than originals of its other, less popular comedies.
TMZ, which like EW, is a subsidiary of Time Warner, first reported the news of the abbreviated episodic order. A spokesman for Warner Bros. TV would not comment.
At this stage, it seems unlikely the 300 crew workers will receive compensation for the forced hiatus. Sheen publicly offered to pay a third of their pay — he wanted CBS and Warner Bros. TV to pony up the rest — but neither company is under obligation to do so since the workers are considered freelancers.
EW learned that it costs anywhere from $300,000 to $400,000 per episode to pay the camera operators, grips, set decorators, electricians, painters, costumers and crafts services folk who help produce an episode of Men each week. Even if Sheen only paid the one third he’s offered, he’d owe anywhere from $400,000 to $530,000.