Those people (and TV critics) wondering why Will Arnett would take a role on a CBS multi-cam sitcom with a running fart gag in the pilot, for crying out loud, even if it is exec produced by Greg Garcia, need look no further than Forbes’ just-out list of the highest-paid TV actors. It’s topped entirely by CBS comedy stars. (Note the somewhat apologetic tone of Arnett’s recent multi-cam explanation to Digital Spy: “I’ve spent the last 10 years doing single-camera shows, from Arrested Development to 30 Rock to Running Wilde to Up All Night and, it sounds lame, but I just thought it would be really fun.”) Ashton Kutcher is ranked No. 1, paid $24 million between June of ’12 and ’13, because he’s the guy who enabled Warner Bros TV to retain a big franchise and CBS to hang on to an important piece of its campaign to take over comedy on Thursday nights while maintaining a four-comedy slate on Mondays — a good thing too, given the early demise of We Are Men. Kutcher’s co-star Jon Cryer, who last fall won an best-actor Emmy for having survived the Charlie Sheen years, is No. 2 on the list. Heck, even the show’s Angus “Don’t Watch This Filth” Jones made the list, which presumably eases the pain of being phased off the show this season, after which he will have to make do with his earnings from the show’s syndication. Former CBS star Ray Romano is No. 3 on the list, owing, Forbes says, in large measure to the money he’s still making off of Everybody Loves Raymond repeats. And, at No. 4: Neil Patrick Harris, star of CBS comedy How I Met Your Mother, tied the network’s Mark Harmon, who is star of the country’s most-watched scripted series NCIS.
Producer Hedda Muskat claims that CAA and Ashton Kutcher’s production company deceived her and pushed her out as Co-Executive Producer on a reality series about the DMV. Claiming breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, and promissory fraud in the complaint filed today in L.A. Superior Court (read it here), the Emmy-winning producer is seeking more than $12 million in damages plus other costs from the agency, Kutcher’s Katalyst Media and company co-owner Jason Goldberg. And she’s very clear about what the fallout from the now scrapped series cost her. “Katalyst’s reckless conduct and CAA’s failure to properly represent or protect Plaintiff has had the ultimate consequence of obliterating Plaintiff’s career in the entertainment industry and her reputation as a producer,” says the 16-page lawsuit. Katalyst sued the state agency for $1.4 million in August 2012 after the DMV pulled out of the proposed TRuTV series. After counterclaims and other legal actions, the parties settled the case earlier this year for $450,000. Some of that money, among other damages, is due to her, says Muskat. A producer on America’s Got Talent and A Current Affair among others, Muskat signed with CAA in April of 2009, according to Friday’s filing.
The actor spoke to CNBC as part of the run-up to the opening of Jobs, where he plays late Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Ashton Kutcher discussed his philosophy as an investor, with $100M in tech start-ups. But the interesting part comes about 4:20 in, where he says that neither hedge …
Open Road, which made a pre-Sundance service deal with Five Star Films to release JOBS in April before pulling the film back because of insufficient time to market it right by rushing, now has set the release for August 16. Ashton Kutcher stars as the Apple visionary …
UPDATE: Ashton Kutcher & Jon Cryer Set For Just-Ordered Season 11 Of ’2.5 Men’, Angus T. Jones Won’t Return As Regular
2ND UPDATE MONDAY 9 AM: CBS just put out a release officially announcing the renewal of Two And A Half Men for next season, the return of stars Ashton Kutcher and Jon Cryer and the departure of Angus T. Jones as a regular. “The renewal comes after new agreements were reached for next season with series producer Warner Bros. Television as well as cast members Ashton Kutcher and Jon Cryer,” CBS said. “Producers are in discussions with Angus T. Jones about a recurring role next season while he is attending college.”
PREVIOUS, FRIDAY 3:15 PM: CBS’ veteran comedy Two And A Half Men is dropping the “Half” for the upcoming 11th season. I’ve learned that co-star Angus T. Jones won’t return to the veteran comedy, at least not as a regular. He may do guest-starring appearances. Meanwhile, I’ve learned that stars Ashton Kutcher and Jon Cryer have closed new one-year deals to return, paving the way for an 11th season renewal of Two And A Half Men, which is now pending. I hear the duo are returning at salaries close to what they earned last season, about $700,000 per episode for Kutcher and just a bit less for Cryer. They remain as the highest-paid TV actors.
Jones’ departure is not surprising. He had indicated his desire to go to college and originally planned to leave after last season until he had a change of heart at the last minute and signed on to return. But with his character Jake in the Army, Jones has appeared only sporadically on the show this season. And then there was the young actor’s ill-advised comments in a religious video testimonial, in which he called Two And A Half Men “filth,” which went viral in November. Jones later apologized and subsequently returned to work.
UPDATE, 11:21 AM: Judge Michael Johnson today issued a final ruling denying the state’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit from Ashton Kutcher’s production company against the California DMV. A trial date has been set for June 8. Katalyst Media and Soda and Pop Inc. filed the suit on June 19, alleging that the DMV dropped out of a reality series the Two And A Half Men star’s company was developing.
PREVIOUSLY, FRIDAY PM: Ashton Kutcher’s production company’s lawsuit against the California DMV for dropping out of a reality series moved one tentative step in the actor’s favor today. Judge Michael Johnson issued a tentative ruling Friday denying the state’s request to dismiss the breach of contract and promissory estoppel suit.
In what amounts to the first Toldja! of 2013, Deadline revealed yesterday that Open Road would get the job of releasing jOBS, the film about Apple visionary Steve Jobs that stars Ashton Kutcher and will be the closing film of the upcoming Sundance Film Festival. Today, the distributor confirmed the news, adding that April will be the release target. According to my sources, this is a service deal and the financier will put up $10 million or more in P&A. Here’s the official announcement:
LOS ANGELES, CA, January 3, 2013 – Open Road Films has partnered with Five Star Feature Films on jOBS, the highly anticipated film chronicling the story of Steve Jobs’ ascension from college dropout to one of the most revered creative entrepreneurs of the 20th century. As previously announced, jOBS will premiere as the closing night film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. The film will be released in April 2013. The announcement was made today by Tom Ortenberg, CEO of Open Road Films and Mark Hulme of Five Star Feature Films.
EXCLUSIVE: Open Road is near a deal to distribute Jobs, the film that stars Two And A Half Men star Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs, the late high-tech visionary leader of Apple. Joshua Michael Stern directed a film that focuses on the trials and tribulations that Jobs encountered in his younger years as an innovator, from 1971-2000. The project was made independently by Five Star Features and is slated to close the upcoming Sundance Film Festival.
I’m told that Open Road will take on the film in a service deal with the producers, who’ll put upward of $10 million in P&A to release the picture; CAA negotiated the arrangement. Matt Whiteley wrote the script. I’ll provide more details when the distributor gets back to me, but I believe this deal will close imminently. It’s unclear exactly when the film will be released, but it will certainly precede the biopic that Aaron Sorkin is scripting, based on the Walter Isaacson bestseller Steve Jobs. That book was done in close collaboration with Jobs. While Sony acquired the book in fall 2011, just as Jobs succumbed to cancer, the studio has been moving at a deliberate pace.
Montreal-based Remstar Films said today it has acquired Canadian right to Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher as the Apple founder and will distribute the film in Canada. Directed by Joshua Micheal Stern, the film is in postproduction and will premiere as the closing night at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Entertainment …