Bad boy Charlie Sheen was embraced by Madison Avenue. (Matt Sayles / Associated…)
Just over a year ago, Charlie Sheen had been fired from his hit sitcom"Two and a Half Men," had become a regular on national news programs ranting about tiger blood, smoking crack and, of course, winning. Oh, and he was wrapping up his "Violent Torpedo of Truth Tour."
Now he's doing publicity for his comeback show"Anger Management,"which debuts on FX later this month, and it seems like he's the same old Charlie.
Sheen is gracing the cover of Rolling Stone and is also the subject of a lengthy profile in the New York Times. In both articles he shows little remorse for his bad-boy ways, which include an arrest for assaulting his now-ex-wife and numerous other run-ins with the law.
“They knew what they were getting. And they know it’s not always going to be smooth sailing," he joked with the New York Times.
Hollywood has an old habit of looking the other way when it comes to bad behavior or even rewarding it if the person in question can deliver the goods.
The press's obsession with Sheen is also not a shocker. The media's always secretly envious of the so-called rebels who buck the system and get the beautiful girls, seemingly with little consequence. There may be a little nose-holding while typing up the story, but that won't stop anyone from turning down a sit-down with Sheen. After all, the public is fascinated with him. He has all those Twitter followers.
The surprising part of Sheen's well-orchestrated comeback, though, is the role that corporate America played in making it happen. Lots of athletes and entertainers get a pass from their bosses when they crash cars, hit a woman or check into rehabs on a regular basis.
But usually advertisers steer clear of these folks because they don't want them hurting their brand. In the case of Sheen, though, two -- satellite broadcaster DirecTV and Fiat -- capitalized on his bad reputation in ads hawking their companies.
That sent a signal to not only the entertainment industry, but also the country that there's nothing really wrong with anything Sheen has done in the past and that it's just Charlie being Charlie. No doubt Sheen's show will also be filled with ads from major corporations. On Wednesday, Sheen is scheduled to give an interview at the PromaxBDA conference, which is a gathering of top media marketing executives.
If Sheen melts down again, or worse, puts someone (other than himself) in harm's way, FX, Debmar Mercury (the production company behind "Anger Management") and Madison Avenue can all point the finger at themselves. After all, it's not as if Sheen didn't warn them.
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