May 13 (Bloomberg) -- Actor Ashton Kutcher will replace Charlie Sheen, the fired star of CBS’s “Two and a Half Men,” allowing the network’s top-rated comedy to continue for a ninth season.
Kutcher, who first gained fame as a star of the TV sitcom “That 70’s Show,” will earn $1 million an episode, said a person with knowledge of the deal who declined to be named because the talks are private. He joins a cast that includes Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones, CBS and Warner Bros. Television, which produces the show, said in a statement today.
Bringing on Kutcher fills a hole in the CBS Corp.-owned network’s lineup ahead of May 18 meetings with advertisers to promote next season’s shows. Warner Bros. fired Sheen on March 7 after he criticized the show’s creator and executive producer, Chuck Lorre, in interviews. Sheen, 45, filed a lawsuit against the Time Warner Inc. unit on March 10 seeking $100 million.
“I can’t replace Charlie Sheen but I’m going to work my ass off to entertain the hell out of people!” Kutcher said in the statement.
Kutcher, 33, was selected after British actor Hugh Grant decided against taking the role, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reported Kutcher’s selection along with Broadcasting & Cable yesterday. Lorre had considered bringing back the show without replacing Sheen.
CBS, owner of the most-watched television network, fell 38 cents to $26.11 at 1:37 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares had risen 39 percent this year before today. Time Warner, based in New York, lost 27 cents to $35.96 and had climbed 13 percent year-to-date.
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