Hugh Grant, the New Charlie Sheen? It Almost Happened

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The show must go on, with or without Charlie Sheen at the helm.

Deadline Hollywood hears that Hugh Grant flew in and had meetings with the powers that be at CBS, after being put forward as the ideal candidate to take over from the embattled Sheen and salvage one of the network’s most popular shows. According to Deadline, the deal was all but done before Grant backed out unexpectedly.

(PHOTOS: Pictures of Charlie Sheen)

“It was not the money,” said a source about Grant not signing on the dotted line. “He didn’t want to do TV because those 24 episodes are a grind and a lot of work. At the end he couldn’t get his head around doing a series.” Another insider told the site that if Grant committed, “the show could have gotten another 3 to 4 more seasons.” There’s some uncertainty as to the pay per episode with numbers ranging from $200,000 to $1 million, which would have still been some way short of Sheen’s rumored $2 million pay packet per show.

So if not Grant, then who else might be in the frame? TIME’s sister publication, Entertainment Weekly, has mentioned the likes of Jerry O’Connell or Jeremy Piven and isn’t ruling out the producers trying to land an even bigger star.

The key date to look to is next Wednesday as that’s when CBS announces its fall lineup to advertisers in New York. You’d imagine the network would want to assure all concerned that its flagship sitcom will be back in September. And we know that we’re being such teases here, but is there still time for Sheen himself to make a remarkable return?

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