One of the iffier moments for a TV show is in replacing a lead or a core cast member- television history is peppered with notable failures of a spouse or mom replacement in once-beloved shows.
When Charlie Sheen flamed out and off of CBS’s Two and a Half Men, it seemed the show could very well be done for. Without Sheen, it seemed a lot of the show’s appeal might disappear rapidly- and then came news of his replacement, Ashton Kutcher. While Kutcher is popular with young viewers, it seemed a gamble that could possibly not pay off in a pricey way for the network.
But initial viewer data is in, and it seems that Kutcher has worked as a replacement- at least in the first episode. And perhaps exceedingly so.
CBS’ entire comedy lineup was strong, with the night opening with back-to-back episodes of How I Met Your Mother (11.3 million, 4.7 and 12.2 million, 5.1, respectively), that were much higher than last fall’s premiere… CBS also crushed the premiere of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars (18.6 million, 3.9). While ABC held up better than any other CBS rival, the two-hour premiere was down a sharp 24 percent from last fall’s edition.
The premiere of the new, Sheen-less Two and a Half Men clocked in with an impressive 27.7 million viewers, on par with the premiere of American Idol. Ratings were particularly high among the 18-49 year old demographic, and up 110% over the premiere of the eighth season with Sheen. While there’s a chance the bump was in part curiosity, it seems Kutcher could be in for a good run on Two and a Half Men.
Did you tune in to see Kutcher in action?