Actor Charlie Sheen made a surprise call to Dan Patrick's radio show. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images )
Reporting from New York — — How much trouble is Charlie Sheen worth? It's a question that CBS can't escape lately, as the star of the network's most-watched sitcom racks up legal issues and personal scandals. On Monday, Sheen gave CBS a fresh reason to worry.
During a highly erratic interview on the syndicated sports talk radio program "The Dan Patrick Show," the 45-year-old actor, who's on hiatus from his show "Two and a Half Men" until he completes an in-home rehab, told host Dan Patrick that he was ready to work. Though he admitted that his sobriety has been "off and on," Sheen suggested that he'd already returned to the set, and was "banging on the stage door" but no one would let him in. (CBS declined to comment.)
While Sheen continued to talk in a raspy voice ("I sound like Demi Moore in her 80s," he joked), swinging from topic to topic, Patrick asked if he's heard from any of his handlers yet during this interview, Sheen said he'd gotten many calls. "There's a firestorm a-coming," he said.
CBS clearly needs Sheen back soon. Production on "Two and a Half Men" has been frozen for the second consecutive year, weakening CBS's No. 1-ranked prime-time comedy block with reruns and forcing network executives to order more episodes of shows like "How I Met Your Mother" and "Rules of Engagement." And Warner Bros., which makes "Two and a Half Men," loses millions of dollars for every episode the actor misses. (The website TMZ reported that the hit comedy will produce only four new episodes — instead of the eight originally planned — assuming Sheen returns to work at month's end. Warner Bros declined to comment on the report.)
During the radio interview, Patrick asked Sheen if he had a morality clause, a provision in a contract that prohibits certain behaviors such as sexual acts and drug use. Sheen replied, "I haven't read it. I don't think it covers 'let me totally dominate and interfere with your personal life.'" (Sheen's contract is with Warner Bros., and officials declined to comment on the statement.)
Earlier this month, Sheen's publicist Stan Rosenfield projected that the actor would be back to work by the end of February. On Monday, Rosenfield confirmed that Sheen was ready to return to "Two and a Half Men," but admitted that he didn't know whether the network would allow that to happen. When Patrick asked Sheen when he was scheduled to return, the comedic actor said, "I believe August of 2014 at this pace."
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking for everyone, including Sheen. His recent outburst during a surprise appearance at UCLA's baseball practice has only increased talk of his instability. Sheen, who came onto the field, told the team last week to "Stay off the crack. Drink a chocolate milk." During the Patrick interview, he elaborated about his talk with the local team. There were "rumors that I've had problems with crack, so it just came out of me like poetry," he explained, adding that staying off crack was "pretty good advice, unless you can manage it socially." Patrick asked Sheen if he thought he could handle crack socially. "Yeah, yeah," he responded, "but that kind of blew up in my face. Like an exploding crack pipe."
Sheen maintained that he was "100%" clean, but still seemed troubled. "I was sober for five years a long time ago and just bored out of my tree," he confessed.
He pleaded with executives running the show to take him back soon. "They said get your act together and I did … I heal really quickly but I also unravel pretty quickly, so get me right now guys."