COMMENTARY | Ashton Kutcher has been all but confirmed as the new Two and a Half Men replacement star. According to TV Line, the deal was made official Thursday night, which would answer one of the biggest mysteries on television. Not only is the show officially moving on from Charlie Sheen, but it has a replacement who is a TV veteran and bankable star in his own right. Yet while bringing Kutcher on may pay off for CBS, it may not compare to the earlier rumors that Hugh Grant was interested in the job.
Once Two and a Half Men was spared from a post-Sheen cancellation, CBS set out to find a new A-list headliner, or at least one with some star power. Days ago, the rumor mill suggested that Grant could be that headliner. But then Deadline Hollywood reported that although Grant was offered the job, he turned it down because of its demanding, 24-episode-a-year schedule.
If Grant had taken the deal, it could have been a big shot in the arm for the show. At the least, it would have had another A-list star with a few past sexual exploits to joke about — albeit not as extreme as Sheen’s. But the curiosity factor of having someone like Grant step in would have garnered a lot of interest.
However, since Grant is decidedly British, it would have been much harder to explain how his character would be connected to the show’s American family — or what’s left of it. Yet CBS didn’t have to wait long to find a backup for its potential replacement; someone who had dealt with a grueling TV schedule for years when he was younger.
Kutcher has proved profitable on TV and in movies, even if he still hasn’t won the respect of critics. Because of that, although he has the buzz to keep the show a ratings winner, critics are unlikely to be as intrigued as they might have been with Grant.
It’s still uncertain just how the show’s quality will be altered, or not, with its new lead. No one even knows what kind of character Kutcher will play, although CBS could provide some details during its upfront day May 18. At the least, the series now has an even bigger Twitter icon than Sheen, and one who is a lot more squeaky-clean by comparison.
The return of Two and a Half Men, and the return of Kutcher to television, is guaranteed to be a big event sometime in September. For that, at least, CBS is winning again for now, even if the revamped show itself might have more question marks than ever.
TV Line- “It’s Official: Ashton Kutcher Replacing Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men”
Deadline Hollywood- “MYSTERY MAN REVEALED: Hugh Grant Almost Replaced Charlie Sheen On Men”