The recent news regarding the hiring of Ashton Kutcher (and the firing of Charlie Sheen) may have been top of mind for journalists at the 2011-2012 CBS Upfronts in New York, but executives were quick to sidestep any controversy surrounding “Two and a Half Men.”

“We’ve had a little drama in our lives,” CBS Corp President and CEO Les Moonves told reporters on Wednesday (May 18) morning, just hours before the network upfront presentation. “Some of you may have written a little bit about it.”

CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler seemed understandably eager to put the media firestorm behind her. “We’re a forward thinking company. We’re looking ahead… Creator Chuck Lorre is over the moon.” As for the recent hire of Kutcher, Tassler simply said, “Ashton is a great addition to the cast. We’re thrilled to have him.”
CBS Programming Head Kelly Kahl did admit that the network had considered the possibility that “Two and a Half Men” might not return to the line-up. “We kind of worked on the assumption [it] would,” he said. “If we tried to do two schedules, we’d be talking all day and all night. Did we have back-up plans? Yeah, we had ideas, but we never really had to go there.”
As to how the character of Charlie Harper will shuffle off into the syndication sunset and how Kutcher’s character will step in, Tassler said, “We know we have a master plan for the character, but out of respect to Chuck and to the show, all that is going to be revealed at a later date. But it’s going to be fabulous and we’ll all have to wait and see in the fall.”
Ultimately, the message from CBS was onward and upward. “I’ve been chased from every restaurant in Los Angeles in the last two months, avoiding questions, but I think we’ve come through it just fine,” said Moonves. “Once again, the corporation is firing on all cylinders.”


Liane Bonin Starr is an author, screenwriter and former writer for Her byline has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Variety and a lot of other places. Her last book was called "a scandalously catty, guilty pleasure" by Jane magazine. Expect the same from Starr Raving.