TV

Ashton Kutcher replaces Charlie Sheen on No. 1 Comedy ‘Two and a Half Men’

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Thirty three-year-old actor Ashton Kutcher, star of “That 70’s Show,” “Punk’d” and most recently “No Strings Attached” with co-star Natalie Portman, is set to replace Charlie Sheen on  the No. 1 comedy “Two and a Half Men.”

Sheen was fired from the sitcom in March after its eighth season was forcefully canceled due to his erratic behavior, battle with drugs and openly offensive comments directed toward CBS.

Kutcher will play an Internet billionaire suffering from a recently acquired broken heart.  According to the Wall Street Journal, Kutcher has signed only a one-year contract to co-star on the show.  This is because CBS has licensed Warner Bros. (producer of “Two and a Half Men”) to continue the show for only one more season at this point.  Therefore, the future of the show and Kutcher’s contract is up in the air.

Kutcher will be receiving $700,000 per episode.  This pales in comparison to Sheen, who was the highest-paid actor in television with a salary of $2 million per episode.

Hugh Grant was rumored to be the replacement of Sheen on the show but ultimately, Grant’s contract did not work out.  According to an insider, “He got cold feet at the last minute.”

CBS President Nina Tassler refused to reveal anything about the show’s season premiere and avoided confirming rumors about whether the premiere episode will contain Sheen’s character, Charlie Harper, dying.

Tassler did comment on the adjustment on set, saying, “When everybody walked on the set . . . you could cut the air with a knife.’’

Tassler also praised Kutcher, saying, “We have an extra actor in Ashton Kutcher. You have someone who is committed to doing their job and is incredibly professional,” calling him “an extraordinarily talented, funny and gifted actor.”

Sheen has not refrained from bitter comments, telling TMZ that he believed the show would collapse without him, especially in younger demographics.  “Enjoy the show, America,” Sheen said. “Enjoy a 2.0 rating in the [adults ages 18 to 49] demo every Monday,” which is significantly less than what episodes with Sheen have done in repeats.

But Sheen did not stop there. He proceeded to comment directly to Kutcher by saying, “Enjoy planet Chuck (Producer of “Men”), Ashton. There is no air, laughter, loyalty or love there.”

In a statement, Kutcher said, “I’m going to work my ass off to entertain the hell out of people.” Tune in on CBS to see the ninth season premiere, scheduled to air Sept. 19 at 9 p.m.

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