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Charlie Sheen loses initial bid for public trial in fight over firing

By Alan Duke, CNN
Charlie Sheen reportedly earned $1.2 million an episode for "Two and a Half Men."
Charlie Sheen reportedly earned $1.2 million an episode for "Two and a Half Men."
  • Sheen wants a public trial, but the studio demands private arbitration
  • A judge finds the arbitration clause in Sheen's contract is binding on the actor
  • Warner Bros. TV fired Sheen after he publicly attacked show producer Chuck Lorre
  • The hit CBS sitcom "Two and a Half Men" will continue with Ashton Kutcher

Los Angeles (CNN) -- A private arbitrator, not a judge, will decide if Charlie Sheen's lawsuit against the producer and studio that fired him from his hit CBS TV sitcom will ultimately be heard by a jury in a court trial, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Warner Bros. Television and producer Chuck Lorre fired Sheen from "Two and a Half Men" in March, after a two-week public meltdown by the star that included attacks on Lorre.

Sheen sued them for $100 million, accusing them of breaking his contract, which paid him a reported $1.2 million an episode.

The actor pushed for a public trial, but the defendants argued it had to be settled in arbitration.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Allan Goodman, after hearing arguments from both sides in an earlier hearing, ruled Wednesday that the arbitration clause in Sheen's contract is valid.

May: Kutcher replaces Sheen on 'Men'

"We're very gratified by the court's ruling enforcing the parties' arbitration agreement," Warner Bros. Television said in a statement to CNN.

Sheen's lawyer said the case could still go to a public trial.

"It will be the arbitrator, not the judge, who will make the decision whether the case will go to arbitration or to court," attorney Martin Singer said.

The arbitrator should make that decision within a month, Singer said.

CBS announced in May that Ashton Kutcher would join the sitcom next season as it continues without Sheen.

CNN's Rachel Wells contributed to this report.