After several months of rumors and conjecture about whether Two and a Half Men's new lead would return for another season, it seems that common sense won out over greed. The word had been that Ashton Kutcher was demanding a large raise before he would agree to come back for the long-running sitcom's tenth season. Kutcher's original "test" deal was for only one year, and paid the actor approximately 700 grand per episode. This is of course a far cry from the about 2 million per show that previous star Charlie Sheen had been making before his abrupt, very public exit from the series in early 2011.
According to a new report from Deadline.com, Kutcher (along with co-stars Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones) have all now agreed to return for another season at their current salaries. Cryer is thought to make a bit less than Kutcher, while the young half man Jones makes a cool 300,000 per episode. The three are also expected to receive a "modest" signing bonus in the high six figures.
The obvious question here is what caused Kutcher to back off of his demands for a salary closer to what Sheen was making. His base salary hasn't changed at all, and the signing bonus is only the equivalent of one more episode's pay. If I were to guess, I would assume that Ashton tried to play hard ball, but CBS would have none of it and told him something along the lines of "if we can replace Charlie, we can replace you". Again, that last bit is pure speculation on my part, until all the facts are made public.
One fact that seems to be overlooked is that a raise may have actually been warranted. The ratings for this season have averaged higher than Sheen's last run of episodes. And "Men" is still easily the highest rated series on Mondays for CBS. Maybe the network threw some other perks Ashton's way that we aren't yet privy to in his new contract.
Have you watched and/or enjoyed Kutcher's stint on Two & A Half Men? Or should the show have died with Charlie Harper?