FX at TCA: Why the network signed Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen is back on TV starting in June.

America will receive its first glimpse of Charlie Sheen in a sitcom post-“Two and a Half Men” in June when his new comedy, “Anger Management,” debuts on FX, the network announced at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday. But the Charlie Sheen we’ll see will be a far cry from the angry, outrageous, self-described “winning warlock” who was fired from “Men” amid scandal in 2011 — at least according to the head of FX.

In the new series, Sheen will play an anger management counselor whose antics are buffered by the women around him — his 13-year-old daughter, ex-wife and best friend/mentor. John Landgraf, president and general manager of FX Networks, called this the kind of role “Charlie ought to be playing at this point, in the sense that he is a character who has a checkered past, but is pretty self-aware, and is struggling in a very honest way with that checkered past and a desire to do more positive things in his life.”

Landgraf insisted that adding the series to the FX lineup isn’t a “cynical publicity stunt.” He picked up the comedy — based on the 2003 movie — due to the “really excellent pitch” Sheen and the series’ showrunner, Bruce Helford, presented. It was so good, in fact, the network has given the “Anger Management” team unusual creative license — no pilot was shot, nor has FX even seen a script. “We’re a network that likes to take risks,” Landgraf reminded reporters.

It’s a gamble the network is willing to take, he says, because he “believes in redemption.”

“If Charlie wants to get his house in order — and that encompasses his issues with substance abuse and his relationships to his own family, and it also encompasses his desire to have greater consciousness about his public persona — and he wants to do a show in which he as an actor has more complicatedly positive relationships with women, my opinion is that [it] could be a really good thing,” Landgraf said.

Follow Amber on Twitter at @amberatmetro


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