One of the most lucrative franchises in American television once more revolves around Two and a Half Men, after Ashton Kutcher was hired to replace Charlie Sheen in the sitcom he was fired from in spectacular fashion almost three months ago.
The actor today signed a one-year deal with CBS that will see him earn a reported $1 million for each of the 24 scheduled episodes. He will not take over Sheen’s alter ego, a hard-partying bachelor called Charlie Harper, but will instead play a new, younger character.
“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,” read a statement from Kutcher, who until now has perhaps been better known for his marriage to Demi Moore and prolific Twitter use than for his acting CV. “I can't replace Charlie Sheen, but I'm going to work my ass off to entertain the hell out of people!”
Since Sheen was dismissed in late February, amid a personal crisis that had culminated in him making a series of public criticisms of the show’s producers, CBS have been casting round for a replacement who can restore the fortunes of the hugely-lucrative comedy.
Rumours that they were attempting to rebuild bridges with Sheen turned out to be untrue. But it emerged this week that Hugh Grant had pulled out of a deal to join the cast. The show apparently failed to strike a chord with the British actor, despite the promise of an enormous payday.
A statement from Lorre announcing the deal glossed over the fact that Kutcher was second choice, however. “We are so lucky to have someone as talented, joyful and just plain remarkable as Ashton," it read "Added to that is the deep sigh of relief knowing that our family stays together. If I was any happier, it'd be illegal."