While not actually “replacing” his character on the show, he will be cast in the lead role, with Angus T. Jones, Jon Cryer, Holland Taylor, Marin Hinkle and Conchata Ferrell on the top-rated series: CBS Corp. and Warner Bros. are bringing Kutcher on board the sitcom, it was announced 5/13. This, after reporting 5/12 that CBS and Warner Bros. were “racing” to lock in a new star for the show, looking to save TV’s most-watched comedy before CBS presents its fall TV schedule to advertisers 5/18 at Carnegie Hall in NYC.
As part of the deal, Kutcher will be paid around $1 million per episode, WSJ reported. No word on whether that includes any share in the back-end profits from reruns.
Production on the ninth season of the Emmy Award-nominated show will begin this summer for broadcast on CBS in the fall.
“I can’t wait to get to work with this ridiculously talented 2.5 team and I believe we can fill the stage with laughter that will echo in viewers’ homes,” said Kutcher. “I can’t replace Charlie Sheen but I’m going to work my ass off to entertain the hell out of people!”
“We are so lucky to have someone as talented, joyful and just plain remarkable as Ashton joining our family,” said Chuck Lorre, creator and executive producer of Two and a Half Men. “Added to that is the deep sigh of relief knowing that our family stays together. If I was any happier, it’d be illegal.”
Earlier this week, British actor Hugh Grant had also been close to a deal for the same role, but those talks fell apart, said WSJ.
RBR-TVBR observation: Kutcher’s role on Fox’s “That ‘70s Show” until 2006 and his starring role on MTV’s “Punk’d” bring a lot of solid comedy to the table for Two and a Half Men. Kutcher has well-demonstrated some of the same comedic values as Sheen did in the show—a big ego, careless, reckless skills with relationships and even a bit of slapstick. We think he’s a good choice for the show and will do well. Should be interesting how his character is introduced and evolves. Millions will be watching to find out.