Ashton-Kutcher-Two-and-a-Half-Men.jpgThe Ashton Kutcher experiment on “Two and a Half Men” seems to be working well through its first season. The show averages more than 16 million viewers per week and continues to anchor the Monday line up on CBS. But will it be back for a second season? If it’s up to EP Chuck Lorre’s logic, the answer is certainly “yes.”

“It’s unusual when they cancel a show that’s in the top 10,” Lorre tells the audience at PaleyFest 2012. “I think there’s hope.”

While the show is actually No. 11 in the season ratings, the point stays true. “Two and a Half Men” has performed well despite the turmoil and the casting change that resulted from Charlie Sheen’s meltdown.

But if the comedy is to continue, it’ll need Kutcher to remain. And to get there, Kutcher will likely want a sizable pay bump, a point he danced around during the Television Critics Association winter press tour.

At the time Kutcher says, “The show is outperforming in [ratings] from before I was here. And so I think people are responding to it. And, for me, having a show that people like and people want more of, that’ll dictate what my decision is.”

Kutcher hasn’t tipped his hand on his plans to return. So producers are likely nervous as the season winds down. But at least they can take one thing Kutcher said at PaleyFest as a good omen.

“Right now I want to work with these guys,” Kutcher says.

Posted by:David Eckstein