I first thought about devoting an entire column this week to Charlie Sheen’s massive unraveling and the media’s role in it. It’s clear he is a very sick person, and what is happening to him is, indeed, sad. And as I have written in this space, blaming CBS, Warner Bros. or even the media for enabling him is comical. I’m just glad it sounds like his kids are out of harm’s way, because bad decisions tend to be the precursor to worse ones, especially in the absence of any sort of checks and balances.
So, while I would neither be surprised if Sheen was back on Two and a Half Men next season nor if he turned up dead by then (apologies for the bluntness, but would you really be shocked either way?), I decided it would be hypocritical to get up on my high horse when I am enjoying the Adonis DNA–fueled ride as much as you are.
One of my favorites has been seeing people come up with quizzes as to whether a crazy quote came from Sheen or someone else. Among the recent ones I have read involved comparing his lines to Charles Manson and Muammar Gaddafi . And I don’t know about you, but when I think Manson and Gaddafi, the next names that come to mind…TV industry execs!
And in the spirit of what the television business does best—ripping off other people’s ideas—please enjoy a little quiz of my own: See if you can figure out which of these quotes came from Sheen and which ones are from someone connected to our just-as-crazy business.
1) “Duh. Winning.”
A) ABC Entertainment chief Paul Lee, when I (apparently stupidly) asked him his plans for the network
B) Sheen, in response to pretty much any question
2) “I’m bi-winning. I win here and I win there.”
A) CBS CEO Leslie Moonves on his success in retrans negotiations, giving his streaking network a second major revenue stream
B) Sheen on, well, I have no idea
3) “There’s a lot of cross-pollination.”
A) Comcast CEO Brian Roberts on already seeing synergies between Comcast and NBC Universal properties
B) Sheen, on living with “goddesses” (note to my wife: Sheen’s word, definitely not mine) Natalie Kenly and Bree Olson
4) “If you try it, you will die. Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body.”
A) TV Guide’s authoritative critic Matt Roush, when I asked him if I should watch a rebroadcast of James Franco and Anne Hathaway hosting the Oscars.
B) Sheen, admitting he is on a drug named after himself. However, he says it is not available at this point. Though I’d check online. Or in Canada.
5) I got tiger blood, man. My brain...fires in a way that is—I don’t know, maybe not from this particular terrestrial realm.”
A) Golfer Eldrick Woods on how he plans to return to his “winning” ways (on the golf course, that is)
B) Sheen on his particular genetic makeup
6) “Our legislative proposal is rooted in the common sense principle that proper spectrum policy and management must be data-centric and guided by maximizing the full economic value of the spectrum to customers, industry and the taxpayers.”
A) Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Rep. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), introducing a bill that would authorize incentive auctions and require the FCC and NTIA to conduct a spectrum inventory
B) Sheen on his legal team’s challenge to put Two and a Half Men back into production
7) “I’m tired of pretending like I’m not bitchin’, a total freakin’ rock star from Mars.”
A) Sheen showing his subtle side
B) Verbiage from an upcoming CNN promo for the understated Piers Morgan, according to a script I stole from his briefcase when I interviewed him recently
8) “That’s how I roll. And if it’s too gnarly for people, then buh-bye.”
A) Sheen, on his conduct in the workplace
B) Keith Olbermann, on his conduct in the workplace
9) “I think I’m worth over a hundred billion dollars, but that’s just on a cellular level.”
A) Verizon Wireless chief exec Daniel Mead, on his net worth since Verizon’s iPhone deal, which allowed all of us to mercifully keep our iPhones but get rid of AT&T’s useless service
B) Sheen, on his net worth. For now.
10) “I’ve been at it a long time, and the pendulum swings one way or the other. I’m not sure it’s worse than I’ve ever seen; I don’t think so.”
A) Post-Newsweek President-CEO and recent Golden Mike Award winner Alan Frank on the current state of network-affiliate relations
B) Sheen, on his decision-making as of late
ANSWER KEY: (Really? C’mon…)
E-mail comments to email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: @BCBenGrossman
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