Television: Strap in for 100 new episodes of Charlie Sheen


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The Independent Culture

For even the greatest comedies, getting a new series renewed (ie funded for a new series) can be hard work. When Seinfeld struggled in its first few seasons, it was almost cancelled until it moved slots. Even mega hits like Modern Family only tend to be renewed one season in advance due to the huge costs of making a 24-episode series.

So the news in August that Anger Management, Charlie Sheen's sitcom for US channel FX, was being renewed for a mammoth 100 episodes certainly raised eyebrows. Especially after Sheen's previous misdemeanours, which led to his previous hit show Two and a Half Men being temporarily cancelled. And Sheen being fired, to boot.

The new series starts here on Comedy Central on 30 January as a 10-show run, followed by a near non-stop 90-episode series; a run unheard of outside soap operas and quiz shows.

So what gives? According to a report by Salon, FX needs content for its quieter hours and paying for 100 episodes of the so-so comedy is actually cheaper – at a bulk-buy rate – than syndication rights to hits like Modern Family. For the producers – including Sheen, who owns a stake in the show – it's a guaranteed payday for two years. Unless people stop watching. Or Sheen embarks on another "tiger-blood" fuelled breakdown.