Charlie Sheen's 'Spin City' Debut

There’s no use denying that Charlie Sheen, who’s replacing star Michael J. Fox on Spin City, has a troubled past. Indeed, the show’s producers aim to make the most of it.

Sheen’s character, Charlie Owen, will step into the job of deputy mayor, while Caitlin Moore (Heather Locklear) will move into a nebulous job as director of special projects. Sheen, who’s earned more than his share of tabloid headlines — most memorably as a customer of “Hollywood madam” Heidi Fleiss — has more in common with his role than just a first name.

Owen has an “interesting” past, involving temptations that have landed him in the gossip columns, though Gary David Goldberg, who is returning to the role of executive producer after two years as the show’s consultant, wouldn’t get specific. “It’s just a series of problems that have spun out of control,” he said. “But we don’t really have them down yet, like, ‘There’s X, Y, and Z.’ It’s just a feeling that surrounds him.”

Fox left the show after last season to concentrate on his fight with Parkinson’s Disease, but he’s given the show and its new lineup his blessing, says Goldberg.

Sheen vs. Sheen For his part, Sheen is happy to have art imitating life: “To meet some of those elements head-on and to deal with them comedically and to laugh at myself is a good way to dispel a lot of it and let everybody know that I’m moving towards a positive and productive future.”

Is there any part of his past that the actor won’t mine for inspiration? “Well, I think there are certain things that can be portrayed in good taste,” Sheen says diplomatically. “I think there are other aspects that — as tastefully or comedically as you try to define them — really have no place on network television.”

Spin City will air Wednesday nights, opposite NBC’s popular White House drama, The West Wing, which features Martin Sheen as the U.S. president. Asked about competing with his father for viewers, Charlie Sheen noted, “The shows are so different that it’s almost like people looking in their video archive, deciding to watch Apocalypse Now or Major League.”

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