- Associated Press - Monday, July 18, 2011

NEW YORK — Charlie Sheen, who was fired from “Two and a Half Men” in March, aims to launch another hit sitcom - this time, on his own terms.

The tempestuous star is planning to return to series television in the hopefully titled “Anger Management,” based on the 2003 film of the same name.

With no network currently in place, the new series will be produced by Lionsgate Television and shopped to prospective broadcast and cable networks by Lionsgate subsidiary Debmar-Mercury, the company announced Monday.

The 45-year-old actor will have a “significant ownership stake” in the series, Lionsgate said. He will also gain “a certain amount of creative control,” he noted.

“I chose ‘Anger Management’ because, while it might be a big stretch for me to play a guy with serious anger management issues, I think it is a great concept,” Mr. Sheen said.

Analyst Bill Carroll of Katz Media speculated that the series would start on cable for initial exposure and then move to cable and broadcast syndication. That’s the model used by Debmar-Mercury on the Ice Cube comedy series “Are We There Yet?” along with “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns,” all of which air on TBS.

Despite Mr. Sheen’s stormy final chapter with the “Two and Half Men” network (CBS) and studio (Warner Bros. Television), cable and broadcast outlets will have to give his new project “serious consideration” given his past success, Mr. Carroll said.

Pointing to Mr. Sheen’s ownership position in the new series, Mr. Carroll added, “You have to assume that’s going to motivate his focus on the show.”

Anger issues over the creative direction of “Men” led to Mr. Sheen’s terminal clash with its executive producer Chuck Lorre, as well as CBS and Warner. By the time of his dismissal, Mr. Sheen had threatened and maligned his bosses, who in turn blasted him for his erratic behavior as a drug-abusing, reckless playboy.

After that, Mr. Sheen intensified his rants online, in various media interviews and during a live concert tour, propelling such terms as “warlock,” “tiger blood” and “goddesses” into popular discourse.

In May, Ashton Kutcher was announced to replace Mr. Sheen in “Men,” TV’s most-watched sitcom, which returns this fall for its ninth season with the remaining cast intact.

Presumably, Mr. Sheen will have a more cordial relationship with his new producer, Joe Roth, with whom he has worked in five features, including “Major League,” “Young Guns” and “Three Musketeers.” Mr. Sheen welcomed the chance to be back in business with Mr. Roth, whom he called “one of my favorite movie producers of all time.”

The producers and distributors will be a key selling point for the new series, Mr. Carroll said.

“I have to assume what you’re really buying is Joe Roth’s ability to produce and deliver a show with Charlie Sheen … and Lionsgate’s track record and the ability of them and Debmar-Mercury to deliver shows. Whoever picks up the show is making a deal with them, not Sheen,” Mr. Carroll said.

He sounded an optimistic note about the project, calling “Anger Management” a known concept. And he said Mr. Sheen’s TV history as a whole should be taken into account.

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