The arrival of Asthon Kutcher as billionaire Walden Schmidt in September kept Two and a Half Men alive after the exit of star Charlie Sheen. But will Kutcher, whose initial deal was for one year, stay on for another season?
"I'm having a lot of fun on the show with these guys and would be interested in coming back if we can work that out," the actor told reporters at Wednesday's Television Critics Association CBS winter previews. "I have a couple features I'm going to do this summer hiatus. Right now I'm looking at it as a hiatus.
"The deal that we've structured for the show was kind of a test," he explained. "Can we get the show on? Can we get it going? The show is outperforming the numbers from before I was here, so I think that people are responding to it. For me, having a show that people like and people want more of, that will dictate my decision."
With that criteria, a return looks promising. The eighth season of Men, the last one starring Sheen, averaged 14.2 million viewers. Kutcher's debut on Sept. 19 drew a whopping 28.7 million viewers, and the show's 13 episodes this season to date have averaged 16.7 million.
Kutcher also caused a stir at the TCA previews with his short hair and clean-shaven appearance, which plays a part in the next episode. Walden started with a more hirsute look because of one of Kutcher's personal habits.
"When I'm not working on something specifically, I tend to let it be a growing field because you never know what you're going to play," he said. "And I prefer not to wear a wig or prosthetics or fake whatever. So I think when [the producers and I] first met, I was a little bit shaggy."
Executive producer Chuck Lorre added, "I thought it was great to have a lead character that didn't look like any other lead character on television."
As for ex-cast member Sheen's newly mellowed-out attitude, Lorre said, "I wish him well. I really do. I'm glad that he's sober and happy."
Two and a Half Men airs Mondays at 9/8c on CBS.