Not surprisingly, reporters at the TV Critics Association press tour had a slew of Charlie Sheen– and “Two and a Half Men”-related questions for CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler Wednesday morning (Aug. 3).
Also not surprisingly, Tassler did her best to keep the focus on where the comedy is going — she offered up a few details about Ashton Kutcher’s character, for instance — and not the situation surrounding Sheen’s firing earlier this year.
But — and maybe we’re reading between the lines a little bit here — even when Tassler wasn’t talking about Sheen and emphasizing all the things Kutcher brings to “Two and a Half Men,” it sounded a little bit like she was talking about Sheen. When a reporter asked what Tassler learned from the Sheen fallout, she sighed and joked, “Oh, where do I begin?,” then said the following:
“What I learned is that we have an extraordinary cast, we have — I was at the table read on Monday, and we have extraordinary writers, extraordinary actors, and that there’s great value in hiring an actor like Ashton Kutcher. He’s an extraordinary professional” — the operative word of the session was “extraordinary” — “a talented, funny, gifted actor who comes with a tremendous amount of commitment and enthusiasm.”
A few minutes later, someone asked if the network could have handled the situation in February and March any differently. “Like I said, we look at where we are today and where we were six months ago, and our whole focus right now is moving forward. We have an extraordinary actor in Ashton Kutcher, someone who is committed to doing the job, to being there, and is an incredible professional. Six months ago to today, we’re worlds apart.”
Following the session, Tassler was asked if she’d ever work with Sheen again. “Charlie has moved on to greener pastures,” she said, referring to his new sitcom deal. “He’s obviously got a lot on his slate, so he’s busy.”
“Two and a Half Men” is set to tape its season premiere later this week. Tassler says that the shakeup to the show means that she and others involved are “looking at things through a different lens now. It’s exciting, and it’s the way great television is made. I really feel that.”