‘Two and a Half Men’ creator tried to block Charlie Sheen from Emmys
WITH BILL ZWECKER September 19, 2011 10:28PM
Updated: November 10, 2011 12:57PM
As Charlie Sheen hit the stage at Sunday’s Primetime Emmy Awards, it seemed the entire Nokia Theatre audience held its collective breath — wondering what the ex-“Two and a Half Men” star would say.
Turns out there was major pressure from Sheen nemesis and “Two and a Half Men” creator Chuck Lorre to keep the actor off the Emmys. However, show producers, Fox TV execs and TV Academy decision-makers all were united in wanting Sheen on the show — knowing it would be good for ratings.
On top of that, the actor himself assured the Emmys team he “would take the high road,” a close Sheen pal told me Monday. “He realized it was an opportunity to address the most important people in the world of television ... and he’s looking down the road professionally ... to future work opportunities, beyond his new sitcom project,” said the source.
† That said, the academy folks didn’t totally trust Sheen’s word. Along with the regular five-second delay “button” — to bleep him, in case Sheen said something untoward — I understand there was a short “bit” prepped for Jane Lynch in case the host needed to jump in and toss to a commercial break.
† Ironically, in the final analysis, several people privy to the Sheen situation say that Lorre is the one tarnished — due to his attempts to block Sheen. “He came off as something of a d---,” said a veteran studio executive early Monday.
† Meanwhile, it sounds like Sheen’s demands for a final “Two and a Half Men” payday may be close. The Los Angeles Times reported Sheen and Warner Bros. are nearing a deal that would pay the actor $25 million to buy out his contract for “Two and a Half Men.” While a Warner’s spokesman denied any settlement, Sheen’s publicist referred calls to the actor’s lawyer, who was unavailable to comment.
FACING UP: As Simon Cowell gets ready to launch “The X Factor” Wednesday night, more than a few close observers of the reality TV king are wondering if the very smooth-faced Brit has had “some work done” recently.
A bit of Botox anyone?
MOVING ON: Put to rest those recent rumors about a possible reconciliation between Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz.
Seems the couple’s divorce is close to becoming final — and Simpson and her new beau, actor Vincent Piazza (Lucky Luciano on “Boardwalk Empire”), are quite the happy item.
I spoke with a longtime Wentz associate, who revealed he always thought “that marriage was doomed,” but mainly due to Wentz being “so much smarter” than Simpson. “Eventually that overtakes the sex.”
† Another complication: Simpson reportedly is unhappy with Wentz spoiling their son, Bronx — thinking he’s not strict enough.
SAFE THIS TIME? Roman Polanski has been quietly assured by the Swiss authorities that they will leave him alone when he shows up to accept his lifetime achievement award from the Zurich Film Festival later this month.
It was his arrival in Switzerland from his French home two years ago that led to the director being arrested and nearly extradited to face those U.S. rape charges he’s dodged since 1977.
LOCAL LIGHT: Even before “Mike & Molly” star Melissa McCarthy’s big Emmy win Sunday night — for best lead actress in a comedy series — Universal Pictures was planning a supporting actress Oscar push for the Plainfield native’s scene-stealing performance in the big summer hit “Bridesmaids.”
Now that campaign will proceed with even more oomph — coming just as “Bridesmaids” is released on video Tuesday. Based on pre-release orders, it’s thought the movie will snare huge initial sales.
SEEN ON THE SCENE: Before “Man of Steel” star Henry Cavill headed out of town, the new “Superman” and his stunt double were seen getting matching haircuts at the Mario Tricoci Salon on Michigan Avenue. “The double was just as good-looking as ‘Superman,’ ” quipped a sharp-eyed BZ spy who was there. … U.S. Olympic speed skater and “Dancing With the Stars” champ Apolo Anton Ohno chowed down at David Burke’s Primehouse, while the Bears’ Lance Briggs dined nearby. ... Recent Sunda sightings have included “The Playboy Club” mainstays Amber Heard, Naturi Naughton and Jenna Dewan, plus (separately) Emilio Estevez. … Houston Astros Bud Norris and J.A. Happ made the scene Friday at Hub 51 while here playing our Cubbies. … B.J. Armstrong dined at Table Fifty-Two, while the Hawks’ Viktor Stalberg was a few blocks away at Tavern on Rush. Ditto for NBC-5 anchor Marion Brooks — enjoying a leisurely dinner on Tavern’s patio.