Nellie Andreeva

CBS Reveals Ashton Kutcher’s ‘Men’ Character’s Name And Background
During TCA’s CBS executive session, the network’s entertainment president Nina Tassler was asked about lessons the network has learned from the  Charlie Sheen debacle that culminated in his public firing. “Oh, where do I begin…,” she said. “What we learned is that we have an extraordinary cast — I was at the table red on Monday — we have extraordinary writers and actors, and there is a great value in hiring an actor like Ashton Kutcher, a talented, funny, gifted actor coming in with tremendous commitment and enthusiasm. What you learn is that the show is brilliantly written, extraordinary produced and you have the opportunity to move forward to create this exciting new character and do a great show.” She later added that Men will be as “smart, irreverent and risque” as it’s ever been. “Standards and Practices is already on high alert.” After the session, Tassler was asked to elaborate on her line from the Q&A that “you could cut the air with a knife” at the Monday table read. “The anticipation was great,” she said. “Hearing an actor utter the first line was a relief.” She also revealed that Men co-creator/executive producer Chuck Lorre opened the table read with what she described as “touching speech.”

Tassler was asked whether, in the wake of Sheen’s meltdown and subsequent dismissal, the network plans to implement a policy to avoid employing actors with erratic behavior. “That’s probably every actor in the business,” quipped Tassler, a former actress herself, adding, “I don’t think we would change the practice with which we hire actors now.” As for Sheen, Tassler said that CBS has not been approached about his new comedy series project, an adaptation of movie Anger Management, noting that the actor “has moved to greener pastures.”

Tessler also was asked to address CBS’ other big lead man change, the casting of Ted Danson on CSI. “We looked at a number of different choices,” she said. “(Danson) is a huge TV star, he’s got a tremendous amount of charisma, it’s what the show needs right now.” Age (Danson is 63, on the older side for a series lead) was not a factor. “We went for the best actor.” His character, “DB Russell, can really reconnect with the team and still assert his authority.”

The failure of Criminal Minds‘ spinoff, Suspect Behavior, is not the result of networks over-spinning procedurals. “It was specific to the show itself, I just don’t think it found its rhythm,” Tassler said. “It didn’t click, it had nothing to do with spinoffs. … It can rely on the mothership to launch it, but it has to stand on its own.”

Tassler also brushed off recent jokes by Community star Joel McHale and ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, poking fun at CBS’ older audience. “They should stick to comedy and check their facts a little better,” she said. “We have more 18-49 viewers than NBC and ABC. Maybe they should stay with comedy and not worry about demos and ratings so much.”

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