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Gold Derby nuggets: Charlie Sheen exiting 'Two and a Half Men'? | Lucille Lortel nominations | Busy Betty White

April 1, 2010 |  5:58 pm

Charlie SheenCharlie Sheen could be leaving his hit sitcom "Two and a Half Men" at the end of this seventh season. Sheen -- who has had his share of personal woes over the course of the series -- faces charges for a domestic dispute at Christmas and is currently in rehab. The actor has picked up four consecutive Emmy nods for his work on the CBS Monday night staple and makes a reported $850,000 per episode. Whether this is just posturing for an even better payday remains to be seen. PEOPLE

• While we will have to wait and see if Sheen does not return to his show, S. Epatha Merkerson definitely won't be reporting for duty if "Law & Order" is renewed by NBC for next season. She tells Mike Ausiello that after 16 years, "It’s time to move on. I’m doing other things and this will be a great way to leave what has been an extraordinary gig." Merkerson delivered one of the all-time great acceptance speeches when she won an Emmy in 2005 for her lead performance in the telefilm "Lackawanna Blues" and her notes disappeared down her decolletage. ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Mike Fleming delivers the news that the three amigos at the center of all the fun -- Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms -- finally have signed  for the sequel to "The Hangover." The surprise winner of the Golden Globe for best comedy/musical of the year is the top-grossing R-rated comedy of all time. The trio are looking at $5-million-plus payouts each, while director Todd Phillips will make at least $10 million on the picture. DEADLINE

• LAT theater critic Charles McNulty extols the efforts of Valerie Harper to use new media like Facebook and Twitter to draw people to the old medium of live theater. The four-time Emmy champ is appearing on Broadway as the theatrical diva Talullah Bankhead in the new play "Looped." CULTURE MONSTER

Lortel_Awards_logo • While Harper could contend for a Tony as her show runs on Broadway, the off-Broadway community rewards its top productions with the Lucille Lortel awards. Nominations for the silver anniversary of these kudos were announced Thursday. The plays "The Glass Menagerie," "Pride" and "When the Rain Stops Falling" lead with six apiece. Among the performers contending are Oscar-winning songwriter Keith Carradine ("Nashville") and three-time Emmy champ Laurie Metcalf for their featured work in "A Lie of the Mind." Winners will be announced May 2, two days before Harper finds out if she is a Tony nominee. PLAYBILL

• Two-time Tony champ Nathan Lane, director Kenny Leon and Macy's Thanksgiving parade will be honored at the 2010 Drama League luncheon on May 21 in Gotham. PLAYBILL

• Oscar winner Anna Paquin declared herself to be bisexual in a PSA for the Give a Damn campaign, which promotes gay and lesbian equality. Paquin, who picked up a Golden Globe for the first season of "True Blood," is engaged to her on-screen paramour, Stephen Moyer.

• Oscar and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson has a new gig as the spokeswoman for Weight Watchers. The "Dreamgirl" star gave birth seven months ago and credits the program with helping her shed the baby weight. She will be appearing in TV spots and print ads. On "Good Morning America" on Thursday, Hudson said, "No one recognizes me anymore. I wanted to go in a different direction and find a better lifestyle." E ONLINE

Betty WhiteBetty White is busier than ever. When not appearing in TV series, like the upcoming finale of freshman hit "The Middle," or preparing her own TV Land sitcom this summer -- "Hot in Cleveland" -- the five-time Emmy champ is picking up lifetime achievement awards. Last summer the TV critics honored her, in January SAG sang her praises and on April 14 she will be feted by the American Women in Radio & Television. Says Jay Leno, who will present her this latest prize, "This Golden Girl has won my heart and the hearts of many fans from around the world."

• Advertisers will pay a premium for a spot on the series finale of "24." Prior to the announcement that the 2006 Emmy winner for best drama series was signing off after eight event-filled years, Fox had been looking for a cool half-million per ad for the May 24 two-hour closer. That rate has jumped to $650,000, and there may be little inventory left already. AD AGE

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Top photo: Charlie Sheen in "Two and a Half Men." Credit: CBS.

Middle photo: Lucille Lortel award logo. Credit: Lucille Lortel Foundation.

Bottom photo: Betty White at the SAG Awards. Credit: TNT

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