One of the fall TV season’s biggest mysteries has been solved. Appearing at the Television Critics’ Association summer press tour, CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler revealed that Two and a Half Men newcomer Ashton Kutcher will not be playing himself, nor a plastic-surgeried Charlie Harper, nor some “actor” named “Raymond.”
Instead, Kutcher’s character is named “Walden Schmidt, and he is an Internet billionaire with a broken heart,” Tassler told the press. She also noted that the Season 9 premiere “will be a two-parter [airing] over two weeks” starting Monday, Sept. 19, at 9/8c.
Tassler would neither confirm nor deny reports that Charlie’s Sheen’s alter ego, Charlie Harper, would be revealed as dead in the season opener. She also, somewhat curiously, did not directly address speculation that Kutcher’s character would be related to Alan and Jake.
Instead, she only added that the first episode of the “new” Men is “smart, funny, irreverent, and as risqué as the show has always been. People who are fans of the show will be really happy, and we feel that show has an opportunity now to recruit a new audience.”
As for the sordid Sheen situation itself, Tassler, when asked about “lessons learned,” elected to focus on Two and a Half Men‘s future.
“The great news is the show will be as irreverent as it’s always been,” she said. Also: “There is great value in hiring an actor like Ashton Kutcher. He is extraordinarily professional, talented, gifted actor who comes with a tremendous amount of commitment and enthusiasm.”
Asked if she would ever get into business with Sheen again (me: As if!), Tassler deferred, “Charlie has moved on to greener pastures. He’s obviously got a lot of opportunity on his plate.”