Charlie Sheen's "Anger Management" lawsuit could cause problems for the show, which has yet to air its first episode on the FX television network. The show's producer, Joe Roth, is being sued by Jason Shuman, who says he helped develop the show.
Charlie Sheen and "Anger Management" could be in trouble as Shuman and his Blue Star Entertainment company did have some hands in the creation of the show. The suit alleges that Shuman was pushed out when Sheen signed on to the show, and that he is now owed $50 million in lost compensation, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Shuman developed the show "under the false promise of receiving significant backend ownership in, and producer credit and fees on, the show," but Joe Roth's Revolution Studios "refused to honor its written producer agreement," according to the suit.
Roth and Shuman had worked together before on "Are We There Yet?" for which Shuman received a raw end of the deal. Rights to "Anger Management" were promised to him as penance, he alleges.
But, in June of 2011- about four months after Sheen's public meltdown and firing from "Two and A Half Men"- Roth stopped answering phone calls and emails, and had begun negotiating with Sheen to be cast in the show. Sheen wanted ownership rights after the "Men" fiasco, so Roth cut out Shuman, according to his lawyer.
"When Roth realized he would be giving up a significant amount of his ownership interest to bring in Charlie Sheen, he suddenly suffered a self-induced state of amnesia with respect to his moral, ethical and legal duties," Bryan Freedman and Brian Turnauer said in a statement to THR.
"Make no mistake, this lawsuit will serve as a wakeup call," they added.
Although Roth and his lawyers allege that Shuman's claim has "no merit," the lawsuit's timing is certainly spot-on- "Anger Management" could be really big.
Over 80 percent of those attending a screening of "Anger Management" in California's San Fernando Valley last week gave it thumbs up, rating it favorably. Even though almost all of them were aware of Sheen's raucous lifestyle while on "Two and a Half Men" and his antics afterwards, they actually liked to see him back in good health.
Sheen plays an ex baseball player who became an unorthodox anger management therapist. Commercials have already begun airing for the series, with Sheen claiming that "everyone deserves a 24th chance."