Adonis DNA. Tiger Blood. Trolls. Warlock. Winning. Charlie Sheen’s Twitter musings and Ustream rants gave us many memorable moments and unintentionally hilarious quips that are sure to live in entertainment lore for years. But after Monday night you can add something else to that list of things Sheen’s antics gave us: 27.8 million viewers for Two and a Half Men’s season nine premiere.
The CBS sitcom’s fall debut almost doubled the number of viewers from last season’s premiere. Six months ago the future of the entire program was in doubt, not because of poor ratings or a writers strike, but rather the show’s then-mercurial star, Charlie Sheen.
I don’t need to delve into the nitty gritty details of Sheen’s journey into the heart of darkness (Get it?!? His dad was in Apocalypse Now! C’mon!), but we all remember he created quite a stir across all media. His Twitter account was the fastest to ever gain one million followers. His internship position received almost 75,000 applicants. His interview on 20/20 scored the program’s highest ratings in more than two years. You couldn’t surf the web or turn on your TV seeing without seeing some news about the Major League star’s madness.
After halting production on Men, Sheen went on to bash his costars and the show’s creator, eventually finding himself with a pink slip for his troubles. Beyond all the turmoil created by the man who claimed to be “bi-winning”, one had to look at the all this buzz around the show and realize that if CBS execs could spin this thing right, Two and a Half Men could bounce back better than ever.
And the suits at CBS did just that. Tapping into the social media realm that was previously harnessed by their nemesis Sheen, CBS tabbed fellow tweetaholic Ashton Kutcher as Sheen’s replacement. Instead of brushing the whole fiasco under the rug, CBS embraced the spotlight their former star’s mayhem brought on them. In the weeks leading up to the show’s premiere on Monday, the network even ran a number of promo spots directly addressing the question of how Kutcher’s character would be introduced.
Time will tell if the show’s new formula continues to yeild numbers similar to Monday’s, but for now you can’t help but applaud CBS brain trust for giving us all a lesson in spin and damage control. For the time being it appears as though it’s CBS, not Sheen, who is #winning