Is Sheen's Anger Management, Both Real and Fictional, A TV Marketer's Dream Or Nightmare?
What are the first two words that come to mind when someone says "Charlie Sheen"?
Say what you will about Sheen. But Lionsgate's effort to star him in a sitcom titled "Anger Management," riffing off the 2003 theatrical movie starring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson, makes perfect popular culture sense. Even those who only tangentially know about Sheen's adventures earlier this year might have their ears perk up.
I smiled a bit when I first heard about the new sitcom -- and that's the producers' point.
What is the actual show about? We only know it is "loosely" based on the movie from Joe Roth's Revolution Studios that was distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment. The movie was about a calm businessman (Sandler) who mistakenly gets sent to an anger management coach (Nicholson).
But will the TV show be funny? At this point, who cares? "We always look for series ideas that are noisy, accessible and relevant," Kevin Beggs, president of Lionsgate Television, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Noisy? Yeah, we get it. The "anger" will no doubt be a tease for this entire show. We will wait patiently for Sheen to explode -- which will deliver a somewhat true picture of his crazy off-screen life over the first part of this year. Sheen will play the Nicholson role -- an anger management counselor who has had anger issues.
A big question is whether the iron is still hot around Sheen. Another big question: How much of Sheen do we want to see in this way?
What network will run this bit of Hollywood entertainment? Nothing has been released as yet. Lionsgate's Debmar-Mercury, the unit handling the Sheen project, has done recent deals with cable network TBS for Tyler Perry sitcoms, as well as distributing "Wendy Williams" and other shows in syndication.
Expect a number of cable networks to take a chance here -- but perhaps not too many broadcast networks, including, obviously, Sheen's former place of employment, CBS.
But also expect a different kind of Sheen -- at least early on. I imagine the first couple of episodes will have a demur low-key Sheen playing off viewers' expectations that they"ll see him do his anger stuff. My guess is that will come in episode three, with bigtime tune-in ads pushing viewers to "Watch this week's episode when [Sheen's character] gets 'emotional' or 'honest'."
TV marketers -- and maybe even viewers -- are salivating.