Sheen out, Ashton Kutcher in for "Two and A Half Men"
By Jill Serjeant
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Ashton Kutcher is joining a revamped version of the top-rated TV comedy "Two and A Half Men", CBS said on Friday, ending months of disarray after the acrimonious firing of wayward star Charlie Sheen.
Kutcher, 33, the husband of actress Demi Moore, is joining the cast for the upcoming ninth season of the money-spinning show that is scheduled for broadcast in the fall of 2011.
Friday's statement did not say what role Kutcher would play but industry sources said he is not expected to be a direct replacement for Sheen's womanizing bachelor character.
"We are so lucky to have someone as talented, joyful and just plain remarkable as Ashton joining our family," Chuck Lorre, creator and executive producer of "Two and A Half Men" said in a statement.
"Two and A Half Men" is the most-watched comedy on U.S. television with about 15 million regular viewers and has been a lucrative source of advertising revenue for CBS, and syndication fees for its makers Warner Bros. Television.
Sheen, who was fired in March after weeks of erratic behavior and for publicly insulting producers, commented bitterly on Friday that the show would tank without him.
"Kutcher is a sweetheart and a brilliant comedic performer ... Oh wait, so am I!", the actor was quoted as telling celebrity website TMZ.com. "Enjoy the show America. Enjoy seeing a 2.0 in the demo every Monday, WB," Sheen added, referring to the coveted 18-49 age group of viewers.
Production on "Two and A Half Men" was shut down for the remaining eight episodes of the 2010-11 TV season and the future of the show was thrown into doubt after producers made clear that Sheen had no chance of returning. Continued...