Charlie Sheen Snares Ratings for Broadcast, Cable

Even CBS Benefits as Controversial Actor Stokes Audience for Rerun

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Charlie Sheen has had his problems with drugs, but TV networks have no problem using him as ratings crack.

Mr. Sheen's various appearances during prime time this week have helped a number of programs secure larger audiences than normal, fueled by his sometimes strange proclamations and feud with CBS and Warner Bros. over their decision to halt production on "Two and a Half Men."

Charlie Sheen on ABC's '20/20'
Charlie Sheen on ABC's '20/20' Credit: ABC
Mr. Sheen's appearance Tuesday night on a special edition of ABC's "20/20" drew an average audience of 9.3 million, the Walt Disney-owned network said Wednesday. The show produced ABC's best results in two years for a one-hour program at 10 p.m. among both adults 18 to 49 and adults 25 to 54. The program that normally appears in that time slot, "Detroit 1-8-7," has secured an average of about 7.6 million viewers season to date as of Feb. 27, according to Nielsen.

Mr. Sheen has done wonders elsewhere, too. His appearance Tuesday on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" brought in about 1.3 million people, the talk show's best numbers since Oprah Winfrey appeared on the debut of the program in mid-January.

Mr. Sheen is also still helping CBS in a way, even if he's not giving its shows interviews and this season of "Two and a Half Men" has been shut down. A "Men" rerun on Monday snared around 11.3 million viewers, more than any other show that night, Nielsen said.

Even if his TV appearances cool down, Twitter users are going to keep up with him. More than 865,000 people signed up to follow his new @charliesheen account in less than a day.

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