Keep Emotions Out Of It When Sizing Up Performers Like Sheen And Beck

Whether talking about Charlie Sheen, Glenn Beck or Conan O'Brien, emotions can run high. But network executives always look to take emotion out of highly charged situations.

Of course, you'll never see that. It happens off-air, which is perfectly appropriate. For all the on-air barbs Sheen has levied at people, you have to figure someone was calmly doing the numbers.

"Two and a Half Men" already has eight seasons in the bag (short a few episodes this year), nicely ringing up big money for Warner Bros. (in syndication and international sales), and for CBS Corp. (in ad sales and helping to launch a bunch of other sitcoms).

Here financial math was done, with cold-eye realism. What would a Sheen-less "Two and a Half Men" mean to Warner and CBS going forward? Half the ratings? Half the ad revenue? No matter. All that is gravy. What did the show really have left in the tank, anyway -- maybe three seasons?

Beck offers an easier calculation -- a controversial show from the get-go, but one with high ratings. That always means a show has a place on air. Controversy does bring a narrower list of advertisers, but provides a plus -- such as promotion of other Fox News shows -- if it attracts viewers in the right quantities. But once a controversial show's big ratings start coming down from their high perch, all bets are off.



While Sheen has been getting big press time -- perhaps furthering some interest in "Two and Half Men" -- the wrong marketing message would have been attached to the show going forward. Call it bad math.

The lesson here is that there's always spillage in the TV world. Don't be greedy -- stuff happens in TV...and quickly. Ask Conan O'Brien. Glenn Beck has around 2 million viewers a night; Sheen had around 14 million for original episodes of "Two and a Half Men." Other math to consider includes 100,000 viewers for Sheen's first live show on Ustream and 2 million Twitter followers in just a matter days to keep up with all of Sheen's missives.

Just numbers. Emotions and seeing people wail or cry concerning television? There is no crying in television -- at least off-air.

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