‘Two and a Half Men’ Finally Retires; CBS Hunting for New Blockbuster
CBS has announced that the long-running top-rated comedy Two and a Half Men will finally wrap up after its 12th season next year as the network attempts to improve its ratings with more sports programming and shows aimed at younger viewers. The chair of CBS Entertainment, Nina Tassler, announced the end of Two and a Half Men to reporters before the company’s presentation to advertisers on Wednesday.
Tassler said that the show’s creator, Chuck Lorre, has some unique ideas for the the show’s finale. “Chuck Lorre is creating a season-long event. Chuck is very psyched about this. He’s got some great ideas and very big surprises,” Tassler said, per the Los Angeles Times.
Some have speculated that one of those big surprises could be a return of former star Charlie Sheen, who left the show in 2011 after a very public breakdown in which he made disparaging comments about both Lorre and the show.
Ashton Kutcher was hired to replace Sheen and has been a successful lead for the show. While some questioned choosing him as a replacement for Sheen rather than just doing away with a show that Sheen arguably carried, Kutcher managed to prove himself and keep bringing in the ratings. According to data obtained by the Los Angeles Times, the show’s most recent season averaged 9.1 million total viewers, with 2.3 million viewers younger than 50.
According to a report from Bloomberg, those ratings still aren’t good enough. While CBS has maintained its position as the top-rated network, this past season it saw a bigger ratings drop among 18- to 49-year-olds of all four major networks, according to Nielsen data cited by Bloomberg. In order to do better with younger viewers next year, the network has a new contract with the National Football League and is introducing five new shows for its 2014-2015 primetime lineup.
CBS is also relying on another popular comedy sitcom created by Lorre to bring up the ratings. The network recently picked up The Big Bang Theory for another three seasons, extending the show through the 2016-2017 season. Renewing series for three seasons in one go is uncommon but not hugely surprising given the ratings that The Big Bang Theory has gotten over the course of its seven-season run. The show has been TV’s biggest comedy in terms of viewers since the 2010-2011 season and is the highest rated non-sports program for adults between the ages of 18 and 49.
Earlier this week, CBS also made the surprise decision not to pick up the pilot for How I Met Your Dad, the spinoff of the popular sitcom How I Met Your Mother, which finished with its ninth season this year. While it was at first reported that CBS would take the series, the network said it has decided to pass on the pilot. “There were things with the pilot that didn’t work out,” Tassler said, per Bloomberg. She added that the creative team was unwilling to make the changes the network was asking for. Not taking the show seems like a questionable move, given the almost guaranteed viewership from the first series’ fans.
With Two and a Half Men ending, CBS is hoping that one of its new shows can help fill the ratings void the show will leave. New dramas from the network include Madam Secretary, starring Tea Leoni as the secretary of state; the spinoff NCIS: New Orleans; and Scorpion, an action series about a team of tech geniuses assigned to protect the U.S. from technology threats.
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