Feb 25, 2011

Post TV columnist Lisa de Moraes takes your questions. Ask about the drama, comedy and heartbreak of the world of television -- both onscreen and behind-the-scenes!

Sunday night, ABC airs the James Franco and Anne Hathaway-hosted Academy Awards broadcast.

Plus, Charlie Sheen: discuss.

Lisa: I don't what I found more disturbing--what Charlie Sheen said, or the fact that he said it on the radio show of Alex Jones who is, to put it politely, a lunatic. (His home page today castigates the media for "demonizing" Qaddafi. I think when you have hired mercenaries gun down your citizens, you've pretty well demonized yourself). Reading the transcript, I can't see how Sheen is ever going to work again. Chuck Lorre has put up with Roseanne Barr and Cybill Shepherd, but this is beyond anything those two gals got up to. For Sheen, the next three stops will be bankruptcy court, a bottom feeding reality TV show and Forest Lawn.

Hi, welcome to the Charlie Sheen Career Memorial chat.  You are so right it's going to be tough for Sheen to bounce back from this his latest rant. Charlie, like other stars who've melted down before him, will need to do the stations of the cross if he wants to have a career. They need to be:

1) A long-ish stint in some credible rehab facility -- Not the Charlie Sheen Rehab Center located at Charlie Sheen's House, Calif.

2)Find Kabbalah with Madonna

3) Go on Oprah show's

4)Be photographed embracing Chuck Lorre


The live chat during the Emmys was a blast. Any chance of repeat for the Oscar broadcast?

The Post's Liz Kelly, Ann Hornaday, and Dan Zak are teaming up to do a live-chat starting at 6 p.m. ET Sunday. Get ready.

Oh and Lisa tells me that ABC has locked up the exclusive rights to broadcast the awards show through the year 2020.

Have Showtime scheduled Episodes for a another season? I found it funny and well written even though "Joey" was playing himself.

I loved it -- all six episodes. I'm hoping they'll order more

All it took was some hookers 'n' blow to shut down that abomination? Who would have thought that Sheen's debauched behavior would cause a 10-point increase in the average US IQ?

Are you suggesting 14 million people -- or whatever this show is averaging these days -- are wrong? This is a major problem for CBS. It's the country's most popular sitcom and the network makes pots of money off of it. But after Thursday's radio rant, they kind of had to shut it down -- what advertiser would want to buy time in an episode that everyone would know had been made after that tirade....

Has a qualified professional issue their opinion as to what is wrong with Charlie Sheen? He's gone from a spoiled brat to a psychotic individual, and I mean the term "psychotic" in the clinical, not haw-haw, sense.

Does Dr. Drew count? How about the Anti-Defamation League? That's all I got so far.. Dr. Drew says Charlie Sheen is in an "acute manic state" right now. ...your thoughts?

We are now in your octagon, are we not?

what was all that octagon talk during Sheen's career meltdown yesterday? I confess, I do not know. Is the problem that I not get out enough, or is this confusing to others?

Sheen, Haynesworth, the list goes on. You're paid millions of dollars. What is there to complain about? Shut the heck up, go to your 3-days-a-week-job, and be grateful that you have what you have. So stupid.

Sheen's doing his bit for TMZ's ratings during the important February sweep. Does that count for nothing?

Is it wrong that I'm rooting against Steve Carell in his post-"Office" career?

Yes. Anything Carell does to make this show end I consider to be a public service. It is so tragic when once good shows are run into the ground because nobody wants to pull the plug while it's on top. "Jerry Seinfeld" should be a class they teach in Los Angeles to all show runners, writers and network execs...

Seem to be alot of SNL Specials. Will they ever have a Special that celebrates the contributions of announcer Don Pardo. He's been with show since it first started. I know you can't cover that in a hour, but c'mon they guy needs to be recognized....

at the rate they're going with these specials, I'm guessing your wish will come true before the end of the season.

What was the deal with last week's Mentalist? The tone was completely different from the show till now, lots of slapstick, lots of hugging from characters who have previously stated their aversion to hugging, lots of pratfalls. And everyone just shrug off being held with a gun to one's head and having the gunman killed inches away. Huh?

Ah, the February sweep! That maddest, merriest time of year when character development is tossed out the window for Very Special Episodes...

So I watched that show "Mad Love" because I've been madly in love with Sarah Chalke since the first episode of "Scrubs." And I saw Jason Biggs was in it. Is it wrong that I can't help but thinking "that's the guy who stuck his peep into a pie"?

meanwhile, I can't help but think "What is Sarah Chalke doing in this "How I Met Your Mother" ripoff....

I'm curious about the ratings for the Westminster Dog Show. Are there data on how many people (not dogs!) watched the show on Monday and Tuesday? Any comparisons to previous years? And why does USA network only broadcast only the first hour on Monday (CNBC broadcasts the last two hours), yet USA broadcasts the entire 3 hours on Tuesday? Thanks, Pooksmeister!!

I'm guessing USA looked at the numbers for the other hours on Monday and decided 'no thanks'... CNBC and USA are both now owned by Kabletown....and the second night, in which the Scottish Deerhound -- or did we decide it was a Norwegian Elkhound -- was crowned the winner, averaged about 3.5 million viewers. That's a good number for the show...

Last week, "Glee" centered on "anthem songs." This week, Will and the coach went to a place called "Rosalita's Roadhouse." When I think anthems, I think Springsteen, and "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)" is one of the Boss's most famous songs. Are these signs that "Glee" is still trying to get a Springsteen-themed episode in there?

I'm guessing yes. We should come up with our own list of singers we'd like to see them fete on the show. Of course you know I want to see a Mandy Patinkin episode in which everyone goes bats and starts singing "Sonny Boy" which is my fave Patinkin performance EVER. If you've never heard him sing it, you have not lived:

Climb up on my knee Sonny Boy
Though you're only three Sonny Boy
You've no way of knowing
There's no way of showing
What you mean to me Sonny Boy.

When there are grey skies,
I don't mind the grey skies.
You make them blue Sonny Boy.
Friends may foresake me.
Let them all foresake me.
I still have you Sonny Boy.

You're sent from heaven
And I know your worth.
You made a heaven
For me here on earth.

When I'm old and grey dear
Promise you won't stray dear
For I love you so Sonny Boy.

When there are grey skies,
I don't mind grey skies.
You make them blue Sonny Boy.
Friends may foresake me.
Let them all foresake me.
I still have you Sonny Boy.

You're sent from heaven
And I know your worth.
You've made a heaven
For me here on earth.

And the angels grew lonely
Took you because they were lonely
I'm lonely too Sonny Boy.

Lisa - my girlfriend and I love watching The Good Wife, but this irks us. The last time I heard someone in a show or movie based in America say "phone" was when E.T. said it to Elliott. Why is it that a show based in Chicago insists that every character who wants to pick up the phone and "call" someone says "phone"? Please help. It's getting distracting!

..and yet, I had not noticed! I need to get to the bottom of this. Clearly this is product placement -- or someone has the copyright on "call" and CBS doesn't want to pay to use the word.. I smell a conspiracy theory...

So by my count, Chuck Lorre has had to deal with the craziness that was Roseanne and Tom Arnold in the early 1990's, Brett Butler in the mid-1990's, Cybil Shepherd in the late 1990's, and Charlie Sheen for nearly a decade. What did Chuck Lorre do in a past life to earn that sort of hell?

The irony: I think Lorre said, around the time he launched "2.5 Men" that he did the show about guys so he'd never have another experience like working with Toseanne and Brett and Cybil..or maybe I just dreamed that.. Anyway, he must miss them now!

So, Lisa, how dead is his career, at least in mainstream entertainment? I can't believe they can bring him back to that show next season. I know the ratings have been strong but who would take the risk of building another show around him anytime soon? Has he now entered the reality show carousel section of his career? Finally, has anybody else blown up their own career in such a public manner before? Shouldn't we give Charlie at least a little credit for originality, yes?

I can say I haver never, in all my years covering TV, seen someone nuke their career and a monster hit series in one fell swoop like Sheen did yesterday. In order for the show to come back in the fall, Sheen needs to visit those stations of the cross as mentioned earlier.  He's got to be toxic to advertisers right  now. And though he bragged yesterday that if "Men" were to end he would not care because he can go do movies with the big fish, I'm guessing he'd also have trouble landing major roles because right now he's got to be pretty un-insurable. He might get a role in an ensemble, or a smaller role, but a starring role? That would be tough. It's the same thing Robert Downey Jr. went through during his dark days, when he could not get movie roles and did the guest gig on "Ally McBeal."

Pookie, the producers should gather the rest of the cast and continue filming as usual. But add a pair of men's legs laying on the floor, sticking out from behind a sofa. Make it a permanent part of the set. Who will know whether that is Charlie Sheen or not?

They could have gotten those four additional episodes in which Charlie's character was "on vacation" or "in a coma" --  or spoken of but not seen, like that wife on "Cheers" we never saw... come on Warner Bros -- get creative!

I assume Charlie is the topic du jour. What's the conventional thinking: complete self-destruction of his career or did he go so over the top that he created a new character he can play on TV and give his career another go-round?

He's already playing that character. No, maybe not. His "Men" character isn't a mean drunk....

I love the fact that allegations of domestic violence didn't bother his producers; holding a hooker hostage across the hall from his kids only rated a suspension; but when he insults THEM, they drop the hammer. Nice set of priorities.

I'm guessing the same could be said of the show's advertisers... and, I'm told his behavior on the set had become erratic, unlike  press reports that say he always showed up and got the job done, blah, blah, blah, on the show and only went on binges during hiatus... Take another listen to his rant. It's kind of menacing. There's a kid on that set....

How can Charlie Sheen (Estevez) criticize Chuck Lorre (Levine) for changing his last name from an ethnic-sounding name to a waspy-sounding name?

He wasn't criticizing Lorre for changing his name -- he was "criticizing" Lorre for being Jewish... and that's despicable.

Pookie, most of the cop shows--the CSIs, the NCISs, Criminal Minds etc.--frequently show the investigators accessing personal financial data, like checking accounts and credit card records, to hunt down the bad guys. I find it hard to believe that real life cops can do it as easily as it's portrayed (I know, it's a TV show...). Real law enforcement no doubt needs to jump through hoops first--reasonable cause, warrants and all that stuff....right?

Yes, and in real life they're not all good looking with great hair, and the forensic anthropologists that help them solve crimes  don't work in offices that have giant crystal chandeliers...I think you need to suspend disbelief -- a lot, a really really lot -- to enjoy these shows.

For some reason I can't quite put my finger on, it feels like Christmas. Or a really awesome Birthday. I have been lapping up the snark pouring out of all directions.

Will you be my new best friend?

Would you tell my boyfriend that Charlie Sheen is not a role model.

I would, except it sounds like Boyfriend is already pretty far gone if he's even considering that as a talking point...

My idea for a new show: Charlie Sheen as an F-18, flies through the air protecting truth, justice and the American way by firing bullets from his steely eyes, with you know, some good comedy writing, and then he ends the show every week by "being special" with a new hot young porn star...

I am going to forward your suggestion to the head of CBS. Seriously. He needs a good laugh today.

So Charlie Sheen is clearly bananas. That much we knew. I don't feel one iota sorry for Chuck Lorre or CBS, because the obviously catered to this lunatic for years. They helped create this monster. The only people I feel sorry for in this mess (other than Sheen's parents & kids) are the crew members who are losing their jobs because of Sheen's instability & CBS's willingness to look the other way for so long.

If that's the logic, isn't CBS to be commended for "looking the other way for so long" so that these people could afford to buy a house, send their kids to nice schools, etc? They had nearly 8 full seasons of gainful employment and logging credits on the country's most popular comedy series. Brilliant careers have been launched off of less...

The previews for the Oscar telecast made me cringe. Should a) I watch it live, b) TiVo it, or c) finish my Patricia Cornwell novel? And DON'T say all three, please!

Got to watch it live. Some shows need to be watched live in order to fully appreciate their cheesetasticness. And this one, pookie, is going to be cheesetastic...

So now CS thinks he's going to get high voltage mega movie deals? HAHAHAHA Proves he's not only gone off the deep end, he took a flying leap off the deep end. I am a 58 y/o white female and laugh outloud at 2.5 men, although it does get tiresome sometimes. However, I am done with it now. Enough.

You are in good company, according to the emails I've been getting today...

Seriously, Charlie Sheen is channeling Jack Donaghy -- say everything in Charlie Sheen's latest rant in a raspy voice, and add "Lemon" in there somewhere.

I don't think Tina Fey has written Jack as anti semitic, or someone who thinks he is an F-18 for that matter. The "winning" gag, however, was priceless...

Unless I missed it, Sheen's costars have been quite silent during this whole mess. I imagine that now that they are losing eight episodes and are probably angry, they might fear that saying anything would make them seem insensitive to his obvious problems.

I applaud them for their silence. This is not an occasion an actor should take advantage of for publicity sake. He's clearly a very disturbed, messed-up guy.

Have Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus ever performed a duet of "Achy Breaky Heart"?

I don't know -- I try very hard to know as little about Billy Ray as possible. Why are you asking -- do you think it should be the centerpiece of a "Glee" episode?

Your dog is Winky, right? You were going to post a picture!

Winky went into last week's chat.

Pookie, I thought the new guy on "Idol" put the kibosh on theme nights and then yesterday all the commercials were for "Beatles" night. Please help me understand.

My guess is Cirque du Product Placement approached the show about plugging their Vegas orgy of excess. Ka-ching! Ka-ching!

Long before 2 1/2 Men Sheen drank, had parties etc, he's always been a heavy drinker. Don't you think thats why they hired him for the lead in 2 1/2 Men? The show should have had legal remedies ready for the situation they're in now.

I'm not sure what you mean by "legal remedies." Do you think you can sue someone out of  having a substance abuse problem?  Or are you saying they should not have cast hard-drinking womanizing Sheen as a hard-drinking womanizing jingle writer on the show? That's an interesting question..

Okay, whoever came up with the idea that Jack Donaghy's adversary should be a devious teenage girl is a freaking genius. That is all.

CBS should buy "30 Rock" for its now-vacant Monday timeslot, and turn  it into hit it deserves to be...

How awesome is he? First, Sam Seaborn, and now the guy on "Parks and Recreation."

I think I just cracked a rib laughing... I'll send you the medical bill...

With the season now scuttled, what happens to other cast/crew of "Men"? Do they get paid? Collect unemployment?

I think the details are being worked out as we chat... This was not something they were planning to do. The plan was to return to work Monday. The change of plan was the result of  Sheen's radio rant on Thursday.  

Two words to replace Sheen: Craig Ferguson.

And, he would be brilliant. I'm all for it. Petition Drive!

I think this Jerry Seinfeld rant toward George Costanza applies equally well to Charlie Sheen:

"You know you really need some help. A regular psychiatrist couldn't even help you. You need to go to like Vienna or something. You know what I mean? You need to get involved at the University level. Like where Freud studied and have all those people looking at you and checking up on you. That's the kind of help you need. Not the once a week for eighty bucks. No. You need a team. A team of psychiatrists working round the clock thinking about you, having conferences, observing you, like the way they did with the Elephant Man. That's what I'm talking about because that's the only way you're going to get better."

Golly, that show was brilliant. I miss "Seinfeld."  Thanks for reminding us....

Find Osama Bin Laden. If he does that, everything will be forgiven (and I think he can collect a big reward). This option is also open to Lindsay Lohan.

If Sheen finds Osama Bin Laden, he does not need to find kabbalah with Madonna. He can skip directly from Credible Rehab to Go on Oprah.....

The kid is now an adult and Sheen is back to being a child.

no kidding....

Really? I missed that. OK, I'll stop defending him. Maybe he and Mel Gibson should hang.

Not hang -- just shut up, and work on fixing the hateful attitude...

Is a good example when to stop, but not a good example of how to stop. That finale was by far the worst episode of the entire series.

Very true. I think Larry David has admitted as much. I think that's what the whole season of "Seinfeld" on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" was trying to make amends for...

What would they say? If you've ever been around someone with a mental illness it's really difficult to comment on. A friend (ex-friend now, I guess) has some pretty serious issues like this and it's hard to comment on because you fear that what you say is going to make the person worse. You realize at some point that you're better off saying nothing and hoping the person gets some real help.

I'm guessing that's the thinking behind their silence...

Robot Chicken will be acting this out very soon, I predict.

golly I hope so!

Ratings up or down for the Oscars with their new hosts?

Down. Just a guess, and based mostly on the nominated movies for best film. That, and not choice of hosts, tends to be what drives people to the Oscars -- or not...

was how he concentrated his way out of addiction. Wish I could concentrate me a promotion and a new boyfriend.

It doesn't work unless you call a radio station to talk about it...

Saving Two and a Half Men: Can't the producers just kill off Sheen's character and bring in another brother or maybe the kid's uncle from his Mom's side as a similar character? I'd suggest hiring Emelio Estevez just to heighten the melodrama. Not that I really care, since I don't watch the show... but it's been fun to read about it.

"killing off" main characters and replacing them usually doesn't work. -- except maybe when they lost Diane on "Cheers" -- hooray! With production shuttered for the rest of the season, they have until August to figure this out. I think they've made the right first move. They clearly shocked Sheen with yesterday's announcement. Now he knows they mean business...

I'm thinking Drew Carey. Thoughts?

I'm going with Craig Ferguson on my wish list...

Will Charlie's antics hurt syndication?

I doubt it....and I'm guessing next week's episode of "Men" will do a slightly better number than this week's, pre-plug-pulling. That's pretty typical when something sensational happens to a star of a show. Remember when Letterman told the country he'd shagged women on his staff and this guy was trying to blackmail him? Remember how some media experts wrote that it would damage his ratings. Those media experts don't know much about TV, or about young guys, who are the Holy Grail of late night TV. Letterman's ratings went up -- and by a good bit among young guys....

Think we could get CS to crash the Oscars. That would be a good crazy moment.

That would be brilliant...

Cryer went on Conan a few weeks back, and he talked about it a little bit, though, a lot of it focused on how his life wasn't as tabloid-worthy, I think.

yes, but that was before Thursday's most major meltdown...

Guess we will move to 9pm Monday for the rest of the season???

If "Men" goes away permanently, that would be one option. I'm guessing CBS is hoping "Men" does not go away permanently...

Craig Ferguson certainly has the life experience to play a drunken musician.

I was thinking more about the fact that he's already in-house at CBS, is hilariously funny and oozes charm, which the character requires....

Why doesn't Charlie Sheen just go ahead and date Lindsay Lohan?

He's too busy giving her advice...

I got it: we have a TV special where Charlie Sheen cuts Justin Bieber's hair...

Much as I do not like Justin Bieber, I wouldn't want Sheen around anyone while holding a sharp object....

The octagon is a cage that two guys get in and fight until one of them drops. Its some kind of weird sport, but on sports radio at least hosts and guest routinely talk about "going into the octagon" and who would win x versus y etc. Macho guy talk apparently. I heard Sheen on the Dan Patrick show last week, and didn't think he was okay then, seemed too revved up--maybe he is bi-polar too bad if so. Many people use alcohol to "self-medicate" a deeper problem.

Ah! Thank you so much for explaining it. Now that part of Sheen's rant makes more sense... Not a lot more sense, but more sense...

Am I the only one who noticed Charlie Sheen paraphrased Marlon Brando from "Apocalypse Now" (with a line spoken to Martin Sheen): "You can kill me, but you can't judge me."

I did notice, and I think it was mentioned in a couple of press reports about the situation...

Do you think CBS will continue 2.5 Men by adding another character? This brings to mind when illness caused Michael J. Fox to be replaced on Spin City by...Charlie Sheen.

Another good example of a new character replacing a much loved, replaced one that actually worked... I'm guessing that is their Plan B for the show....

I heard rumors that when "The Sopranos" went off the air that David jumped for joy because someone had finally written a worse ending then him.

I have no idea if it's true but it's a lovely story...

I know the father had his own problems with drugs back in to the day, but any signs he's going to more actively intervene in his son's life? I don't know what their relationship is like these days, but Martin always seemed to pop up on Charlie's sitcoms at some point.

I know Martin Sheen has expressed his concerns about Charlie in the past... I have no idea what he's doing today after yesterday's development. I'm out of time. Thank for all the questions this week! See you next Friday...

In This Chat
Lisa de Moraes
Pulitzer Prize winner, Peabody recipient, Medal of Freedom honoree -- Lisa de Moraes is none of these, but she is an authority on the bad direction, over-acting, and muddled plot lines being played out in the TV industry's executive suites. de Moraes worked for a decade as the television editor at The Hollywood Reporter, the entertainment industry trade paper, where she was routinely on the receiving end of more shouting phone calls from TV suits than Paula Abdul's manager.

When she upgraded to The Washington Post in 1998, a well-known executive producer called to suggest she have someone else start her car, but her trenchant writing (and refusal to use words like "trenchant") earned her the following praise from the brilliant, handsome media observer at Slate: "She writes like a wicked bitch." Wikipedia has called her "a noted television columnist," but they're often unreliable. It's pronounced "deh more ICE."

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