CBS, in an attempt to lure back younger audiences by adding Thursday night football and other new series, will cancel Two and a Half Men after the end of next season, its twelfth on TV. The show at one time was the highest-rated comedy on TV, but this past season, its ratings have tanked, despite new additions to the cast designed to help keep the show current and popular.
First, there was Ashton Kutcher, as Walden Schmidt, the extremely wealthy new roommate and new owner of the beachfront condo where he lives with Allan Harper (Jon Cryer). Ashton replaced actor Charlie Sheen, who played Charlie Harper, after Sheen got involved in a number of well-publicized and allegedly drug and alcohol-fueled binges with expensive hookers. Perhaps the worst thing he did was to insult series creator, Chuck Lorre, one to many times. He was, and is, still very funny, but there were too many controversies surrounding him for CBS to keep him on.
Then, there was Amber Tamblyn, who is filling in the cast after Angus T. Jones, who played Allan’s son, didn’t make a single appearance in season 11. Amber plays the long-lost lesbian daughter of Charlie Harper. Angus “got religion” and criticized the very show he’d co-starred in for years. His part was cut to a recurring role, and then he was not in the series at all this season of Two and a Half Men.
Ashton Kutcher seemed like he was the perfect solution to replace Charlie, as he co-starred in the humorous That 70s Show for years. He initially helped to dramatically push the ratings of Two and a Half Men to new heights when he joined the cast in 2011; but, perhaps in part because of its move to Thursday nights, the show’s ratings have not regained their earlier popularity levels. The ratings of The Big Bang Theory, however, have remained high despite also having moved to Thursday nights.
The rest of this season of Two and a Half Men, says the head of entertainment for CBS, Nina Tassler, will be “a season-long event to send it off.”
While CBS retains the top overall spot as the network that is the most watched among the four biggest ones, it had some steep ratings declines of 18 percent among younger audiences ranging between the ages of 18 to 49. That, according to data from Nielsen, is a ratings drop to the tune of three million viewers.
Two and a Half Men still continued to appear in the Top 25 highest rated shows, but it dropped in ratings compared to The Big Bang Theory.
Two and a Half Men Hurt By Fewer Sports on CBS?
One theory that CBS’s senior executive vice president of prime-time programming, Kelly Kahl, came up with that the overall ratings of CBS have dropped is that there are not a lot of sports programming on the network anymore. This means, if the theory is accurate, that all of the shows have suffered to an extent, including Two and a Half Men, because of this lack of sports. The ratings failure of Intelligence and Hostages on Monday nights has also not helped.
However, with the addition of Thursday night football to the CBS lineup starting this fall on September 11, the network is banking on seeing a ratings increase that will spread and increase its overall ratings. Two and a Half Men and other shows will begin in the place of the Thursday night football games beginning an October 30.
Besides the addition of Thursday night football, CBS is counting on its new series to bolster their sagging ratings and attract a younger audience. One example will be the mid-season replacement for Thursday night football, The Odd Couple, co-starring Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon, as the slob sports reporter Oscar Madison and the neat-freak hypochondriac Felix Unger. Matthew Perry will also be a co-writer of the series that is based on the Neil Simon play of the same name.
CBS has decided not to add the How I Met Your Dad influenced series, How I Met Your Mother, to the fall lineup.It would have been produced by the same producers, and the news of it had attracted a lot of interest from the fans of How I Met Your Dad; but, CBS execs nixed picking up the series. It’s still possible that another network will decide to pick it up.
The only new comedy that CBS will be adding to its fall schedule is The McCarthys. The series will star the late Jon Ritter’s son, Tyler. His father in The McCarthys will be played by Jack McGee, who is the family patriarch. He hires his son to be his assistant basketball coach at the high school where he is a coach.
Two and a Half Men has had a very successful run, and the series has won an amazing nine Primetime Emmy Awards. Jon Cryer earned two of them in the category of Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. The season-long send-off of Two and a Half Men could prove to be its funniest yet. Ashton Kutcher is the highest paid actor in a comedy series, earning $700,000 an episode. Jon Cryer, by contrast, earns $620,000 each episode. The first episode Kutcher appeared in attracted a whopping 28.7 million viewers. Last week’s season finale attracted just 8.8 million, a drop of 40 percent from the season 10 finale.
Written by: Douglas Cobb