Ashton Kutcher’s ‘Men’ character named; lessons learned from Charlie Sheen

From left, Angus T. Jones, Ashton Kutcher and Jon Cryer star in “Two and a Half Men.”

CBS didn’t bring the cast and producers of “Two and a Half Men” to the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Wednesday because “they’re in production,” CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler told journalists, who audibly groaned at that excuse (numerous other shows “in production” managed to attend). Instead, Tassler fielded questions about the show, offering praise for new lead Ashton Kutcher and sharing lessons learned from the Charlie Sheen debacle.

Meet Walden Schmidt
Tassler announced Kutcher will play Walden Schmidt on “Two and a Half Men,” an “Internet billionaire with a broken heart.” Walden will be introduced in a two-part episode airing over two weeks, Tassler said, but she refused to confirm or deny rumors that the season premiere will involve a funeral for Sheen’s character. Tassler touted the “mystery” surrounding the exit/entrance of Sheen and Kutcher’s characters, saying the network has high hopes that these episodes will be “an event” and draw viewers.

‘Oh, where do I begin?’
Sheen was one of the first topics of conversation during Tassler’s press conference. When asked about lessons learned after his meltdown and subsequent exit from his sitcom, Tassler sighed, “Oh, where do I begin?”.

She insisted “our whole focus is moving forward,” calling Kutcher “an extraordinary actor” and saying the network is “happy to be where we are today.”

Tassler said CBS has not changed their casting process post-Sheen; if the network avoided casting actors with erratic personal lives, she admitted, the talent pool would shrink.

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