'Two and a Half Men' Creator: Ashton Was Not My First Choice

Chuck Lorre admits he envisioned a "forty-something costar" to pair up with Jon Cryer, but says, "my assumption was wrong"

Ashton Kutcher may now seem like the best choice, but he wasn't Chuck Lorre's first choice to replace Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men (premiering Monday, Sept. 19 at 9 p.m. ET). In fact, the CBS show's creator was stumped about how to incorporate the 33-year-old actor into the show, after he was suggested by the network.

"I was completely convinced that we needed a forty-something costar who would be a peer to Jon (Cryer)," Lorre told TV Guide. Kutcher -- known for his roles in That 70's Show and silly movies like Dude, Where's My Car? -- just seemed an unlikely guy to take the place of the aging, hedonistic Charlie Harper. 

"When I met Ashton, then went back and watched his films and TV work, it was obvious my assumption was wrong. Here was a guy with great comedy instincts, tons of experience, and who is totally fearless -- taking the job proves that. Most importantly, he has a big heart that I thought would be a huge asset in creating a character we could care for," said Lorre.

Co-creator Lee Aronsohn adds that Kutcher's addition to the cast has given everyone involved with the series "a shot of adrenaline," and that there's a sense of newness around the set, even though the show is entering its 9th season. "It feels like the best of both worlds: a well-developed series and a brand new one at the same time," says Lorre.

But not too brand new, he says. "Like I said, it's still a show that veers into the vaguely unacceptable. If, in the past, you enjoyed thinking, 'I can't believe they just did that raunchy joke,' you will not be disappointed in Two and a Half Men 2.0."  

Well, that's a relief. Click here to preview photos of the new season, which starts next week!

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