For the first time since ending his run as Kelso on That 70’s Show in 2006, Ashton Kutcher will be returning to scripted television. Kutcher hinted to fans when he tweeted “What’s the square of 6.25?” The answer, two and a half. The official announcement soon followed from CBS and Warner Bros. Television that after months of speculation, (and a laundry list of possible replacements- Hugh Grant, Rob Lowe, John Stamos, Jeremy Piven and Woody Harrelson, to name a few) Ashton Kutcher will replace Charlie Sheen as the leading man on the highest rated TV sitcom, Two and Half Men.
Sheen was fired from the show in March after months of public antics that included attacks on the show’s executive producer Chuck Lorre. At the time, I assumed the show was finished (1.5 Men ?) but it seems Kutcher has saved the day … at least, for now. After Hugh Grant passed on the role, it was offerred to Kutcher and a deal came together quickly. It will be “huge pay day” for the actor, though official numbers have not yet been released. The 6.25 tweet could be the 625K or more industry insiders speculate Kutcher will be taking home per episode. At the time of his departure, Sheen was making nearly 2 million an episode and left the highest paid actor on television. Tell me again why he was so upset?
Kutcher will not replace Sheen’s character, Charlie Harper. When the season ended, Charlie was last seen heading to the airport (and Sheen to the web camera to rant) and in the new storyline he will simply just not return. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, who first broke the story, Lorre promised his introduction of Kutcher’s character is really funny,
“People are going to love it”. Kutcher’s contract is reportedly only for one year, in part because CBS has only scheduled the show for one more season. If they choose to extend, it is likely they will extend Kutcher’s role as well.
For now it seems his fellow castmates and fans are delighted to have Ashton Kutcher join the show. In recent years, Kutcher has producer shows including Punk’d and Beauty and the Geek and acted on the bigscreen in films that included this Winter’s No Strings Attached.
As for Sheen, he took his show on the road in the form of a nationwide tour, My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not An Aption, which kicked off in Detroit to mixed audience response. Much like his character he plans to take himself overseas next and extend his tour to Europe and Australia. I wonder if this Charlie will ever come back.