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Chuck Lorre Explains Charlie Sheen Firing, Two and a Half Men Makeover

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The shenanigans of Charlie Sheen may have dominated the headlines for weeks in early 2011, but Chuck Lorre goes into detail with TV Guide Magazine this month and says the battle between Two and a Half Men and its leading man was "not a game."

"The [studio and the network] chose to make a moral decision as opposed to a financial one," Lorre says in his first wide-ranging interview on the topic. "This was drug addiction writ large. This was big-time cocaine, and in his own words, an 'epic drug run' that could have ended with either his death or someone else's."

Lorre also said he offered to quit the show during the height of the controversy.

  • TV Guide Magazine Cover
  • Charlie Sheen Promo Pic

Among other topics tackled by Lorre...

On bringing in Ashton Kutcher: "I thought, why not find out if we can do it? If we failed, what have we failed at? Making a sitcom? Then it became exciting. We got to do something none of us ever dreamed of doing: We got to end a series and start a new series in 20 minutes."

On crossing fiction with non-fiction: "To not deal with it felt like a cheat. The unbelievably public nature of this debacle is part of our legacy now. It happened, and the dividing line between Charlie Harper and Charlie Sheen is forever blurred."

On shutting down production: "I didn't want to be writing a sitcom while my friend died. Or worse, hurt someone else. We couldn't be complacent. There was a tragedy unfolding right in front of us. There was violence and blackouts. On a certain level, if you're looking the other way, you're responsible."

On his current attitude toward Sheen: "Bottom line, I hope he's happy, I hope he's healthy. I hope he's able to be there for his kids."

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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PLEASE SIR,I want Charlie back in the show.Without him and how much you make fun in the scripts it doesnt make me happy.It wont be funnier anymore.He's the funniest entertainer in 'Two and a half men' show,please do something and bring him back:)

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The entire recipe of two and a hlf men has been spoiled. Dear chuck lorre please bring back charlie sheen. I hate the show without him. Alan, jake and charlie.....and their chemistry thats what the real show is. I would love the titanic once again on the oceans and more than that i want the trio to be together again.

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wtf???!! the show sucks now bring back charlie!!! NOW! CUZ THE SHOW IS NOT FUNNY ANY MORER! :(

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Shut it down and start a new series. I've moved on.

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The show is incredibly putrid (and I am not a big fan of Charlie Sheen), but for God's sake, put this turkey of a "comedy" out of its misery, or bring back Sheen. It is unwatchable.

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A year ago, when Ashton was named to replace Charlie, I told a friend at Warner Entertainment that it was a mistake. Call it gut feel. After watching the first two episodes of the new season, I felt vindicated. Kutcher sucks! The character dynamic (Charlie-Alan) of the original series was completely lost. In its stead, you now have two whimpering idiots. To top it off, Lorre resorts to cheap tawdry tactics to gain viewers by having Ashton parade in his birthday suit - twice! The only thing that has achieved is that now the show has gone from being a guy series to a girlie-homosexual series. If the ratings remain the same it's only because the demographic has changed from male to female/undefined. The new series is so bad I don't bother to watch it anymore. The only one who could have even come close to pulling off a Charlie Sheen is Robert Downey Jr.

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Without Charlie Sheen, you suck, totally

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Without Charlie Sheen, you suck

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For the love of god already! Charlie cleaned up. Now Lorre should DO THE MORAL THING AND GIVE HIM HIS JOB BACK!

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Charlie Sheen is a man with so much talent. It is a shame that he abused this gift. But, he helped created a sit com that was the best. I read that he and Lorre had this Spanish/Jewish thing going. I wish they could get pass that & continue to make a show worthy to stand with "Mash", "Cheers" "The Danny Thomas Show" and the list goes on. All the characters played so well off Charlie and he seemed to always be generous with the other actors. Charlie Sheen stands at the end of a long line of Hollywood's bad children. I have nothing against Ashton, but he should have understood why so many turned the "opportunity" down.