The LA Times tabulates exactly how much money Charlie Sheen’s on-air meltdown MIGHT cost Warner Bros. in the form of lost royalties and fees from Two and a Half Men episodes:
Warner Bros., which produces the show, has the most to lose if “Two and a Half Men” is over. Currently, CBS pays about $4 million per episode for the show. Warner Bros. uses that money to make the show, pay the cast, etc. But there is always money left over to keep in its pocket. Given that eight episodes won’t be made this season, that translates to $32 million in lost license fees, several million of which would have been pure profit. People close to the show say Warner Bros. would lose about $10 million in profits from the four episodes alone
Contractually, CBS is on the hook for one more season after this one, so if Sheen’s character has indeed drank his whiskey and bedded his last broad, then that is an additional $96 million or so in license fees gone — assuming that 24 episodes would be made next season. Then there is the rerun money. The cable channel FX pays about $800,000 per episode. That’s $3.2 million right there that’s gone for the episodes that won’t be made this season. If the show is gone for good, then that number jumps to more than $22 million after factoring in the 24 episodes that would have been made next season.
Just based on the numbers above, they are already looking at well over $130 million in losses, assuming the show gets canceled. That this many livelihoods and this much money can be subject to the whims of one notoriously unstable man seems the height of ridiculousness. But hey, that’s show business baby.