Actor Charlie Sheen goes off the rails time after time, then goes back on TV, and the ratings go up. His ex-wife, Denise Richards, told Barbara Walters in a pre-taped episode of The View that will air today [Friday], “…this is Charlie's lifestyle. He makes no bones about it... and it is what it is." Viewers don’t seem to care that the popular star of Two and a Half Men has been lying low in his mansion since being rushed to the hospital after a 36-hour episode filled with alcohol, cocaine and porn stars, and that his absence left his hit CBS show on production hiatus, putting his crew out of work. Is this more mutually exploitive Hollywood and just another in a long string of similar episodes where studios and the public overlook the problems of major stars in trouble? Or does reality mirror fiction so closely that we all just go along with it?
Alex Ben Block, Senior Editor for The Hollywood Reporter and author of Out Foxed: The Inside Story of America's Fourth Television Network