Biiiig news: Charlie Sheen is stepping away from 'Two and a Half Men' for rehab...

  The statement:

"As a preventative measure, Charlie Sheen has entered a rehabilitation facility.  He will take some time off his series Two and a Half Men.  He has asked that his privacy be honored.  No further statements are planned."

  CBS, WB, and Chuck Lorre just released this statement:

“CBS, Warner Bros. Television and Chuck Lorre support Charlie Sheen in his decision today to begin voluntary in-patient care at a treatment center. We wish him nothing but the best as he deals with this personal matter. Production on ‘Two and a Half Men’ will be temporarily suspended.”

  Ny hunch is that there are at least six episodes to go before this wraps for the season. Not even Chuck Lorre could write around an absence this big...

  Producers  are masters at maneuvering around SCI's - "Sudden Cast Implosions."  Someone says something dumb, or gets drunk and does something dumb (no Kiefer, we are not talking about you), or decides she is very important and says/does something dumb  (Kat Heigl - we are DEFINITELY not talking about you) and the ol' cameras just keep on rollin', like that river. 

  But  this SCI is different; Sheen clearly is in trouble, with himself and the law, and it all comes down smack dab in the middle of production season, leaving  the show little time to scramble. Much worse, this show pretty much is Charlie and Alan Harper. I suppose you could have written around Charlie for a bit; let's see - he and Berta run off to the South Seas together in a moment of mad abandon. Bring in a guest star to chase women with Alan...Maybe viewers would even buy it. Unlikely...

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   The bottom line: For fans of TV's most popular sitcom, this is a major blow. Sheen's already been charged with felony menacing over the Christmas near-assault on his wife (per reports, he held a knife to her throat), and if convicted could spend three years in jail. He has a court appearance on March 15, and wil  have to spend months preparing for trial - while he's in rehab, which seems kind of impossible. . .

   His wife, Brooke Mueller, has also entered rehab.