You read the breathless breaking news version.
You read Alan Sepinwall’s analysis.
You even followed @aplusk’s cryptical mathematical tweets.
But now, the news is truly official: Ashton Kutcher is joining the cast of CBS’ “Two and a Half Men,” effectively replacing the departed Charlie Sheen.
CBS, normally a network to play all of its pre-upfronts cards very, very close to the vest — Note how few reports you’ve seen regarding CBS pilot pickups or bubble decisions — announced Kutcher’s casting in a press release on Friday (May 13) morning.
“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,” Kutcher states. “I can’t replace Charlie Sheen but I’m going to work my ass off to entertain the hell out of people!”
A tribute to CBS’ success with maintaining secrecy, Kutcher’s name only hit the rumor mill on Thursday, just one day after Hugh Grant’s name was floated as a former replacement for Sheen, who was fired from “Two and a Half Men” in March.
“Ashton is a pop culture triple threat-film star, cutting-edge producer and a social media pioneer,” states Nina Tassler, President, CBS Entertainment. “He brings creativity, energy and personality to everything he touches. We are thrilled to have him, and excited beyond words for what he brings to the next season of ‘Two and a Half Men.'”
The CBS announcement gives no indication of Kutcher’s character or how said character will be brought into the many-layed Twoandahalfmeniverse
The key piece of actual fresh news in the CBS release is that “Two and a Half Men” will resume production this summer and will be back on CBS in the fall. There had been speculation that the retooling pursuant to Sheen’s departure and the addition of a new character might cause executive producer Chuck Lorre to request that the comedy be held for midseason. That won’t be the case and Lorre sounds almost giddy in the release.
“We are so lucky to have someone as talented, joyful and just plain remarkable as Ashton joining our family,” states Lorre. “Added to that is the deep sigh of relief knowing that our family stays together. If I was any happier, it’d be illegal.”
As you already know, Kutcher’s TV credits include his storied run as Michael Kelso on FOX’s “The ’70s Show,” as well as his capacity as producer on “Punk’d,” “Beauty and the Geek,” “True Beauty” and, of course, “The Beautiful Life: TBL.” He has also made movies.
CBS’ full schedule will be revealed on Wednesday, May 18 at the network’s upfront presentation to advertisers.
Check out the updated fates of all of your favorite 2011 TV Shows on the Bubble.