Jon Cryer savors win in lead actor category

Emmy victory follows show's evolution post-Charlie Sheen

Jon Cryer got into a serious bicycle accident last weekend and was recovering all week in the run-up to Sunday’s Emmycast.

Consider the healing process officially begun for the “Two and a Half Men” thesp.

The actor’s win in the lead actor comedy category was seemingly as surprising to him as to the Nokia and TV audience at home. The category has now stayed in the CBS family for the last three years: Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory” was the two-time defending champ.

“I thought Jim was going to win again,” said a still stunned Cryer backstage. “I didn’t think for a minute that this was going to happen. I apologize for my speech.”

While this is Cryer’s second Emmy for “Two and a Half Men,” it’s his first as a lead. For the majority of the show’s run, Charlie Sheen was submitted as lead and Cryer as supporting. But with Sheen gone after a very public battle with producer Warner Bros. Television and Chuck Lorre, Cryer said the time was right to step up.

He wouldn’t have made the move with Sheen still aboard.

“When Charlie was doing the show, it rested on him,” Cryer said. “He was the one in practically every scene and the show was structured around him. It would have been silly for me to be in that situation (entering as a lead), but the situation changed.”

After a stellar ratings start last year with Ashton Kutcher aboard, “Two and a Half Men” remained a solid performer on the Eye sked. As the new season begins this week, Cryer will be back in that comfortable role of Alan Harper that has now brought him two Emmys and plenty of industry respect.

He said he’s especially grateful to exec producer Chuck Lorre, who had faith in Cryer early on when the show was first being cast.

“(CBS chieftan) Les Moonves didn’t want to hire me. He wanted Charlie Sheen and a new face,” Cryer recalled. “When we got in a room (to audition), Chuck started laughing and knew who this guy was. You hope writers get you, and get what you can do.”