Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Two And A Half Men.
Ashton Kutcher is reportedly in negotiations to replace Charlie Sheen on CBS's
Ashton Kutcher is reportedly in negotiations to replace Charlie Sheen on CBS's Two And A Half Men. Kevin Winter/Getty Images
UPDATE, 12:40 p.m.: CBS has sent out a press release confirming that Ashton Kutcher will join the cast of Two And A Half Men beginning this fall.
Last night, news started to percolate that Ashton Kutcher was set to join Two And A Half Men, filling the void left by Charlie Sheen — who, you may have heard, has been having some personal problems.
Among his other selling points, Kutcher has more than 6.6 million Twitter followers, and they didn't have to wait long for him to comment. The Hollywood Reporter posted a story at about 8:00 Eastern saying it had confirmed rumors that Kutcher was close to a deal to join the show, and an hour later, Kutcher tweeted ... a wink. Just a wink.
About a half-hour after that, he tweeted, "What's the square root of 6.25?" The answer, of course, is two and a half. This morning, some reports had the deal already done, but there's no official confirmation quite yet.
If this comes through, it won't please critics as much as earlier rumors that the replacement might be Hugh Grant, but Kutcher is actually an enormously sensible choice. Men will instantly feel about ten years younger, about ten degrees warmer, and about one-tenth as likely to become mired in miserable, hair-tearing drama, and you have to think everybody on that set is ready for everything to calm down already. A guy who chose, at the height of his hotness, to settle down with Demi Moore — they are still together after eight years, which is a lot more impressive when you consider how chortled-at the relationship originally was — is probably not going to wind up ranting about goddesses on TMZ.
It makes sense for Kutcher, too. His movie career has cooled but is not dead; his recent romantic comedy with Natalie Portman, No Strings Attached, didn't set the world on fire, but it made a perfectly respectable $70 million domestically. He still brings his own fans with him, he's a sitcom veteran (having originally become famous during a long run on That '70s Show), he doesn't seem to splatter drama on everything he touches, and his tendency to play affable guys who say "dude" a lot allows the show to use him as a contrast to the buttoned-up Jon Cryer without needing to create a copycat degenerate like the character Sheen was playing.
And the six and a half million people following him on Twitter don't hurt.
In the time since production shut down in mid-February, Sheen has publicly vacillated between lashing out at the show and producer Chuck Lorre and trying to get back in the door. As recently as mid-April, Sheen was claiming he might return — a gambit that led Warner Brothers Television to memorably declare in a letter to his attorney, "As you know, there have been no discussions, there are no discussions and there will be no discussions, regarding his returning to or having any involvement with the series." (Yow.) After Lorre announced that he was going forward with the show with a new actor, Sheen sent one more open letter to Lorre, calling him, among other things, a "narcissist," a "coward," a "loser," and a "spineless rat." The last sentence was, "Reap the whirlwind, you cockroach, reap it." (One hopes he had given up on getting back on the show by then, because if that's a negotiating strategy, it could use some work.)
As he's done sometimes in the past, Lorre seemingly addressed the situation in the vanity card for his production company that aired at the end of last night's The Big Bang Theory, saying he's gotten "fairly immune to name-calling" and adding, "I now have a thicker skin, I'm less likely to sweat the small stuff, and, perhaps most importantly, I have a renewed sense of humility."
So it seems Lorre and the show are moving on. No more tiger blood, no more warlocks — doesn't all that seem like it happened a million years ago now? — no more Charlie Sheen. Could it blow up in their faces? Sure. Will Sheen claim it's blown up in their faces no matter what happens? I suspect so. But for now, they've grabbed an actor with a strong background in broadcast television comedy, and they're getting on with it.