Comedy Impact Report 2011: Tube Titans
All eyes were on Ashton Kutcher when he stepped in to fill the “Two and a Half Men” void left by Charlie Sheen. Though the first episode’s astronomical showing, which saw 28.7 million tune in, could be chalked up to curiosity, the CBS skein continues to impress two months later, as Monday’s No. 1 entertainment series in all key demos.
Still, not everyone was amused by Kutcher’s performance. The season premiere called for him to appear nude in a scene. “We were trying to figure out how we were going to do that in front of a live studio audience,” says Kutcher, who dusted off a prosthetic made for his “Naked Man” Internet sketch from a few years back. “When I took my clothes off, the audience could tell that I wasn’t really naked. But we didn’t tell the Standards and Practices person from CBS that I was going to do that, so she came down screaming from her booth, freaking out.”
In addition to filling Sheen’s shoes, the actor-producer-Internet trailblazer also filled seats at the multiplex in 2011. Kutcher’s edgy romantic comedy “No Strings Attached,” which nabbed $149 million worldwide, did particularly strong business overseas — an impressive feat given that such fare typically doesn’t travel well.