With his public comments the last few weeks, "Two and a Half Men" star Charlie Sheen has essentially been daring CBS and Warner Bros. to put him out of work.
Thursday night - after his latest, strangest radio rant - his bosses called his bluff, shutting down production for the rest of this season.
And after the events of the last few hours, it's hard to imagine how the show could come back next year with Sheen as its star.
Earlier today, Sheen appeared on "The Alex Jones Show" and, among other things, used the anti-semitic slur "Hymie" to describe boss Chuck Lorre, called Alcoholics Anonymous a "bootleg cult," insisted he cured his own alcoholism "with my mind," and rambled on about Vatican assassins, trolls and other delightful topics. (TMZ has the audio if you feel the need to experience it for yourself.)
A few hours after the interview went viral, CBS and Warner Bros. put out this terse statement: "Based on the totality of Charlie Sheen’s statements, conduct and condition, CBS and Warner Bros. Television have decided to discontinue production of 'Two and a Half Men' for the remainder of the season."
At this point, there seemed to be no other choice. No matter how much money "Men" generates for the network and studio, and no matter how many other actors and crewmembers it employs, there was no way Sheen could come back to work after he had repeatedly antagonized his bosses like this.
So let me ask, once again: at what point does someone contemplate the possibility of doing the show without him? Maybe it will be a big disaster, but it can't be any worse than the current situation, can it?
UPDATE: Sheen released a statement to TMZ that pretty much confirms why CBS might have done this. You can go there to read it in full, but here's the opening: "What does this say about Haim Levine [Chuck Lorre] after he tried to use his words to judge and attempt to degrade me. I gracefully ignored this folly for 177 shows ... I fire back once and this contaminated little maggot can't handle my power and can't handle the truth."