It might be America's most popular sitcom, but Two and a Half Men moved a step closer to cancellation this week after production was halted on episodes for the rest of the season. The future of the comedy, about a divorced father who moves himself and his young son into his brother's Malibu beach house, has been up in the air for several months, thanks to the show's wayward star, Charlie Sheen.
Sheen, who is the brother of Emilio Estevez and the son of the West Wing star Martin Sheen, has a history of substance-abuse problems, and made headlines when he was taken to hospital with severe abdominal pains at the end of January.
The move to suspend filming of the show comes after Sheen called a Fox Sports Radio show and made some trenchant observations about Two and a Half Men and its producers. He described the show as "drivel" and criticised the producer Chuck Lorre, claiming that he had been treated "like an unwanted relative being given cold coffee at 9pm every night".
A joint statement from Warner Bros and CBS, soon after the star's diatribe, announced that the show's 2011 season would finish early, on account of "the totality of Charlie Sheen's statements, conduct and condition".
Before the latest chapter unfolded, Martin Sheen had spoken of his struggle to help his son, saying: "This disease of addiction is a form of cancer. You have to have an equal measure of concern and love."