Will the studios stick to their new vows of restraint? Perhaps there's an instructive comparison with another business run by big egos in search of talent, Major League Baseball.
Every few years, the baseball owners announce that there's a new austerity in the air and that they won't overspend on players. But just before spring training starts, they get nervous and suddenly a pitcher like Ted Lilly — the baseball equivalent of an assistant gag writer on "Two and a Half Men" — gets something like $10 million.
In his defense, Lilly has been slightly above average for his career. I don't watch "Two and a Half Men," but I'm guessing it's closer to, I dunno, Sterling Hitchcock quality.