Pasadena, Calif. -- John Landgraf, FX president and GM, defended the network's
decision to pick up the Charlie Sheen starrer Anger Management at the TCA press tour here Sunday, saying the move
was not a "cynical publicity stunt."
"It was just a regular pitch, and I walked into the pitch as
skeptical as you would believe," Landgraf said. "What I heard was a very good
pitch for a comedy series."
Sheen will play a character with a checkered past and a
complicated relationship with his 13-year-old daughter, and Landgraf expressed
confidence that Sheen is now a very different person than was depicted in the
press during his Two and a Half Men
implosion last winter.
Landgraf said he has seen 15 storylines of a few sentences
each but has not seen a script for Anger
Management yet, which is why FX did not panel the series at TCA.
"I really don't know what the show is yet," he said, noting
that they are going into the process as optimistic as possible without having
seen a pilot.
The deal for Anger
Management follows the model used for many Tyler Perry sitcoms on TBS, with
FX ordering an initial 10 episodes from Debmar-Mercury and will pick up an
additional 90 episodes in success.
Landgraf said that syndication model was a motive to get the series, giving the
network a stab at getting another back-end property.
Asked to answer to the decision to put a star on his network
with a history of substance abuse and violence against women, Landgraf called
Sheen one of the best sitcom leads you can get and supports his desire to get
his house in order, so to speak.
"My opinion is that could be a really good thing. I believe
in redemption," Landgraf said, nothing that it was important that the project
had a consciousness of Sheen's rocky past. "I'm all for giving them the
opportunity to turn things around."