Jon Cryer Reveals How Close Two And A Half Men Came To Ending Amidst Charlie Sheen Going 'Off The Rails'
Here's how close it was for Two and a Half Men.
Two and a Half Men was a hit for CBS from the early days, with sitcom veteran Charlie Sheen headlining opposite Jon Cryer. The two anchored the series for the better part of a decade, before Sheen’s very public departure. He was fired in 2011 after eight seasons, with the eighth season cut short after Sheen entered rehab and made some controversial comments. The show ultimately continued with Ashton Kutcher joining Jon Cryer, but Cryer has now explained how close Two and a Half Men came to actually ending early.
Speaking with ET, Jon Cryer revealed that the show was “going so smoothly” in the early years (which you can revisit streaming with a Peacock Premium subscription), and Charlie Sheen had been sober for two years before starting. Things changed over the years, however, when Sheen started going “off the rails.” Cryer – who would go on to land a memorable role on Supergirl – reflected:
Charlie Sheen went through his divorce from Denise Richards during his time on Two and a Half Men, which lasted from 2003-2011. Their split was finalized in 2006. He married Brooke Mueller in 2008, but they too divorced in 2011. According to Jon Cryer, Sheen’s personal life began to affect his work on the CBS sitcom, and the issues that ultimately led to his firing were “very subtle” to start.
The ultimate decision to cut Season 8 short and fire Sheen came after what was reportedly an erratic final day of filming. At that point, the odds seemed in favor of the show ending rather than continuing without the star. As much as Jon Cryer was a co-lead with Sheen, the premise of Two and a Half Men seemed to require both Charlie and Alan Harper.
Now, Cryer has shared that as his co-star’s public behavior grew more and more unpredictable, he and the creator considered ending the show altogether. He said:
A show running for eight seasons is pretty impressive as is, so Two and a Half Men wrapping at the close of even the shortened eighth season wouldn’t have been terrible. Cryer was evidently willing to let it happen if it was best for Charlie Sheen’s health, but Chuck Lorre (who recently opened up about watching the show again after the drama) came up with a different kind of fix: seemingly killing off Charlie Harper and bringing in Ashton Kutcher as the new co-lead. He and Cryer would star in the final four seasons of the show before it finally ended for good in 2015, with a finale that revealed Charlie Harper was alive after all.
In the years since the end of Two and a Half Men, Jon Cryer evidently hasn’t kept in touch with Charlie Sheen, but said that he is “glad that his health has rebounded” and hopes for “nothing but success for the guy.” Recently, he took to Twitter to pitch a reunion with Sheen for another Hot Shots! movie. The first Hot Shots! was actually the first time that the two actors appeared in the same project, more than a decade before they’d reunite for Two and a Half Men. Whether or not they truly ever reunite for another project remains to be seen, but Cryer is heading back to TV comedies following the end of Supergirl.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.
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