Correlation or Causation? CBS Stock & Charlie Sheen on TMZ

Correlation or Causation?

Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen

CBS stock moved south starting at around 2:15 pm, at one point off as much as 2 percent. It happens that at 2:20pm Eastern TMZ posted a report that Charlie Sheen was rushed to the hospital this morning on a stretcher. Charlie Sheen happens to be the highest-paid actor on television, and the star of the top TV sitcom, CBS' 'Two and a Half Men.'

CBS is the top rated network, and 'Two and a Half Men' is one of its crown jewels, averaging nearly 15 million viewers a week. The series, which has run on CBS since 2003, brings in about $200,000 per 30-second spot, one of the highest rates for a prime-time live-action comedy, according to Ad Age. So what's that worth to CBS? Kantar Media reported that last season the show brought CBS $155 million in ad revenue.

But here's the thing — CBS move down on this news doesn't quite make sense, because CBS doesn't produce 'Two and a half Men' — Warner Brothers does. CBS owns only a tiny percentage of the show's rights, and it pays a huge licensing fee to Warner Brothers.

I spoke to one Wall Street analyst who said that no mid or long term investor with any sense would trade CBS on this kind of news. In fact, there's a joke about CBS' paltry ownership of this huge hit: "How much of "Two and a Half Men' does CBS own? 'Two and half percent."

CBS has plenty of other shows working in its favor, including the top drama, NCIS, which averages nearly 20 million viewers, and the highest-rated new series of the season, Hawaii Five-0. Plus, if the TMZ news is true, it wouldn't affect the show this week — it's on a planned hiatus from shooting. I have a call into Sheen's publicist for the official word on his health and the TMZ report.

Questions? Comments?