Sheen's $1 Billion Bender


And we can thank our tabloid-obsessed and ever-fragmenting media landscape for many of the juicy details surrounding Sheen’s personal implosion. “I love the guy,” adult film actress Kacey Jordan (Rocco’s Bitch Party 2 is part of her, um, oeuvre) told on Jan. 27, shortly after she, several other porn queens and Sheen purportedly engaged in a 36-hour sex and drugs bender at the sitcom actor’s Hollywood mansion that ended with his being rushed to the hospital.

Of course, who wouldn’t love a guy who offers to buy you a Bentley and keeps throwing handfuls of cocaine at you in between sexual encounters, as she told satellite radio’s Howard Stern last Tuesday?

You would think that such lurid, real-life details—which may titillate younger fans of the show, if not their parents—might give some advertisers pause to reconsider their investments in the program. But, according to Gary Carr, svp, national broadcast at media agency TargetCast, advertisers that aren’t comfortable with Men or Sheen probably bailed long ago. “Some people are sensitive to stuff like this while others will run in anything,” he said. “I think we’ve known for years about Charlie Sheen. This is no surprise.”

CBS said last week no decision has been made about resuming production, but the likelihood is it’s done for the season, at least. And if the show doesn’t go forward next season—not unthinkable if Sheen sobers up and decides he needs a change of venue to stay that way—$260 million in fees and ad dollars for the show would go up in smoke.

But in terms of damage done, CBS is best positioned to take such a hit, said Don Seaman, vp, program analysis at Havas’ MPG. “They have many big shows,” he said. “If this happened to Idol, it would be a huge issue for Fox.”