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. READ MORE »
In one of the longest journeys to the schedule, TV Land today announced that Forever Young, its half-hour unscripted series from Ashton Kutcher‘s production company, will premiere on April 3 with back-to-back episodes. That is … Read More »
Ashton Kutcher stars as Apple visionary Steve Jobs in the Joshua Michael Stern-directed jOBS, which premieres Friday as the closing film at Sundance. In this first-look clip, Kutcher walks and talks through the parking garage of Hewlett-Packard trying to convince future Apple co-founder … Read More »
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. Read More »
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.
Ashton Kutcher’s production company is suing the California Department of Motor Vehicles for $1.4 million in damages for pulling out of a reality television series deal. The lawsuit, filed today in LA Superior Court, alleges the DMV breached its … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: JOBS, the film that will star Ashton Kutcher as Apple genius Steve Jobs, will be sold at the Cannes Film Festival by Inferno. The film will be directed by Joshua Michael Stern based on a Matt Whiteley script. Production … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The leading men of CBS‘ veteran comedy Two And A Half Men are staying put. I’ve learned that Ashton Kutcher, Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones, whose contracts were up at the end of this season, are inches away from an agreement in principal for new one-year deals that will bring them back for next season — the series 10th and second with Kutcher as the star after he replaced Charlie Sheen. Word is that the trio are returning at their current salaries, with all three getting signing bonuses. Kutcher is believed to be earning about $700,000 per episode, Cryer a bit less and Jones $300,000 an episode. Jones’ bonus at the last contract re-upping was $500,000.
After the Two And A Half Men renewal went down to the wire the last two years as the show raced against the clock to lock in its leading man, first Charlie Sheen, then his replacement Ashton Kutcher, things may … Read More »
UPDATED: Walden Schmidt is dropping the beard and getting a haircut. That was one of the headlines from TCA’s Two And A Half Men session this morning, which featured star Ashton Kutcher with a new clean-cut look. The onscreen transformation will happen on the show’s upcoming episode Monday.
During the panel, co-creator Chuck Lorre talked about how close he came to ending Two And A Half Men after the controversial exit of original star Charlie Sheen. “We absolutely considered it,” he said. “We never imagined we would be in a position to consider it any other way. It looked as slightly impossible and ridiculous thing to do.” Eventually, he and co-creator Lee Aronsohn opened up to the possibility of continuing the show with another star. “We thought if we fail, no one will be psychically harmed. It seemed like such a heartbreaking way to end (the show).”
Kutcher, whose deal is up at the end of the season, was asked about the prospect of him continuing on the show next fall. “The deal we structured was kinda a test deal,” he said. “The show is outperforming the numbers from before I was here, and I think people are responding to it. For me having a show people like and want more of will dictate my decision. Right now I’m looking at (summer) as a hiatus, I have a lot of fun and would love to come back.”
Also at the panel, Aronsohn addressed speculation about the behind-the-scenes fight between Lorre and Sheen, which was fueled by comments during the actor’s rampage last spring. “I never saw it, that was never the case,” Aronsohn said. “Chuck has always been extremely respectful of Charlie, and Charlie has been respectful of Chuck. What has been built up as a feud never existed.” Read More »
Oxygen Media has tapped former OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network executive Rod Aissa as SVP Programming and Development. He will oversee all programming and development efforts at the network as well as shepherd new and existing series like The Next Big … Read More »
Charlie Sheen’s public rants against Two And A Half Men co-creator Chuck Lorre ultimately got the actor fired from the hit comedy series. But if Lorre had his way, he would’ve left first, … Read More »
Joining the ranks of Ashton Kutcher, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga in promoting tech startups, Leonardo DiCaprio has surfaced as one of a group of investors who put up $4 million in seed money for visual social media … Read More »
Garry Marshall’s romantic comedy New Year’s Eve from New Line has a new trailer showing its ensemble cast preparing for the big night. Ashton Kutcher, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Sarah Jessica Parker and Halle Berry are seriously ready to get this party started on Dec. 9.
UPDATED: The debut of Two and a Half Men with new star Ashton Kutcher lived up to the hype ratings-wise, while NBC hit a major bump on the opening night of the season. The ninth-season premiere of Two and a Half Men last night drew 27.7 million viewers and posted a 10.3 rating in the 18-49 demographic in the fast-nationals, numbers rarely seen for show not named American Idol these days and a series record for Men by a large margin. (UPDATE: In the final ratings, which include same-night DVR viewing, Men‘s premiere climbed to 28.7 million viewers and 10.7/5 in 18-49). In 18-49, Men more than doubled its season-premiere number last fall, up 110%. This was the highest-rated season premiere on any network in six years, since Desperate Housewives‘ second-season opener in September 2005.
Two and a Half Men provided a great lead-in for CBS’ new comedy 2 Broke Girls, which drew a 7.0/13 in 18-49 and 19.5 million viewers in its premiere behind Men before it moves to the 8:30 PM slot next week. (In the finals, the numbers were adjusted to a 7.1/16, 19.4 million). The comedy starring Kat Dennings posted the largest audience for a fall comedy debut in 10 years, since NBC’s Inside Schwartz, which launched behind mega-hit Friends.
And while Men is bound to steal all ratings headlines today, another veteran CBS comedy, How I Met Your Mother, also was off to a very hot start. It opened the night at 8 PM with a 4.7/13 in 18-49. That was the comedy’s highest-rated season premiere ever, up a whopping 31% from last fall, a surge rarely seen for a series in its seventh season. A second HIMYM episode at 8:30 PM rose even further to a 5.1/13 (5.2/13 in the finals). And if it starts to seem like the Two and a Half Men tide was lifting all the CBS boats last night, that wasn’t quite the case. Somewhat surprisingly, the second-season premiere of Hawaii Five-0 at 10 PM (3.4/8) was down 13% from its series debut last year despite having a lead-in twice as big as last fall’s. Two and a Half Men and CBS easily dominated the opening night of the 2011-12 season. But, because of the big curiosity factor associated with the public firing of former Men star Charlie Sheen and his replacement Kutcher, the show was expected to open well. The question is where it will settle when the novelty wears off. As for Sheen himself, we’re awaiting to see the ratings for his roast on Comedy Central, which also aired last night. (UPDATE: Comedy Central’s Roast Of Charlie Sheen Highest-Rated In Franchise History)
On the other broadcast networks last night, NBC’s The Playboy Club got off to a disappointing start with a 1.6/4 in 18-49 and 5 million viewers at 10 PM. It was down 30% from the premiere of NBC’s short-lived drama Chase in the same slot last year and did only a little better than last fall’s big flop, Fox’s Lone Star, which opened with a 1.3/3 and 4.1 million. The Playboy Club tied another short-lived show, Crusoe, as NBC’s lowest-rated fall drama premiere ever. The Playboy Club didn’t get much help from its lead-in, a two-hour The Sing-Off, which managed a 1.9/5 in the demo and 5.2 million viewers. (Chase had a stronger lead-in last year from The Event.) Sing-Off, whose only previous run was as a limited holiday series, was down 32% from its December debut to log the show’s lowest-rated telecast. Overall, NBC’s Monday lineup was down 30% from last fall, a troublesome sign for the network, which is looking to mount a ratings turnaround. Read More »