Ashton Kutcher Is Apparently the New Charlie Sheen

Slate's Culture Blog
May 13 2011 11:01 AM

Ashton Kutcher Is Apparently the New Charlie Sheen

We still don't know who's going to take over for Steve Carell on The Office , but one big sitcom reshuffle seems good to go: According to Deadline, Ashton Kutcher has concluded negotiations to step in for Charlie Sheen on the hit CBS show Two and a Half Men . Sources tell WSJ.com that Kutcher will receive around $1 million per episode . (Insert joke here about who is winning and who is not.) Rather than pulling a Becky-on- Roseanne and simply dropping Kutcher into Sheen's old role, showrunner Chuck Lorre is reportedly planning a brand-new character. Long-lost cousin, perhaps?

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We probably won't hear official word from the show's producers, or from Kutcher, until next week's upfronts, when the networks present their new fall lineups to advertisers. But last night Kutcher teased his legion of Twitter followers with both a winky-face emoticon and a math puzzle, asking, " what's the square root of 6.25? "

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Earlier this week it was reported that Hugh Grant had come this close to joining the show, and as a longtime fan of Grant's particular brand of louche, skittish charm, I was crushed to hear that those negotiations fell through . But Ashton seems like a smart choice. He has plenty of sitcom experience thanks to That 70's Show , and his laidback dudeness should make him an appropriate foil to Jon Cryer's Alan Harper (whom Slate 's Troy Patterson recently described as a character "whose hetero-meatheadness is tempered by the flittiness and fussiness that are sitcom shorthand for sexual ambiguity"). At the same time, Kutcher's innate sweetness should distance his character from Sheen's boorish Charlie, giving the show a fresh spin while retaining much of its old, audience-pleasing DNA.

And of course, Ashton's social media wizardry he has nearly 6.7 million Twitter followers, making him the 7th-most popular person on the service has got to be attractive to the show's producers. Though the AP points out that his online cred didn't exactly pay dividends in 2009, when the Kutcher-produced series The Beautiful Life was canned after just two episodes.

Photograph of Ashton Kutcher courtesy of Getty Images.

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Nina Shen Rastogi is a writer and editor, and is also the vice president for content at Figment.

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