3:31pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
CBS Renews 'Two and Half Men'; Angus T. Jones to Recur
CBS has renewed beleaguered comedy Two and a Half Men for an 11th season -- but there's a catch.
The network and studio Warner Bros. Television are currently working out a deal for young star Angus T. Jones to recur on the Chuck Lorre comedy, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
Meanwhile, stars Ashton Kutcher and Jon Cryer have inked new one-year deals for season 11 and will return to the series as regulars. The news doesn't come as much of a surprise as Jones had been vocal about his desire to attend college following Men's 10th season. Jones has been vocal about the way the series has used his character this season, as Jake frequently appeared via Skype after enlisting in the military this year.
The pickup comes after a CBS entertainment chief Nina Tassler told reporters in January at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour that she'd like to see Jones continue with the series despite his controversial digs at the series that made him a star.
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"He made his public apology and we've moved on," she said of Jones' comments, in which he declared the show "filth" and urged viewers to stop watching. "The kid is 19 years old. I've got a 24-year-old. Between the ages of 19 and 24, there's been plenty of things my kid has said that I wish he hadn't. The bottom line is cooler heads prevailed," Tassler, a mother of two, told a group of reporters following the session.
"He's been a beloved member of that cast for years and years and years and he issued a public apology. At the end of the day, they want him back and he wants to come back. He's tabling next week and that's it and we move on," she continued, noting that it's a "happy" cast of "happy" people. "We had a little bit of a glitch, but what else is new?"
The series, which moved to the plum post-Big Bang Theory slot on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. this season, is averaging a 4.2 rating among the core adults 18-49 demographic.
As for whether the Thursday night comedy could go beyond 11 seasons, Tassler takes a "we'll see" approach. "We have such a crazy success story in terms of our long-running shows, who knows," she said. Like Jones, stars Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher do not yet have contracts for an 11th season, much less a 12th.
Two and a Half Men's renewal guarantees that Lorre will have at least three series on the air in the 2013-14 season, joining previously renewed comedies Mike & Molly and Big Bang Theory. He also has comedy pilot Mom, which has been generating nothing but positive buzz all development season, in contention for fall. The prolific showrunner inked a rich four-year deal to remain with studio Warner Bros. Television in September.
At CBS, Men joins a 2013-14 comedy slate that includes Big Bang, the final season of How I Met Your Mother and 2 Broke Girls. Rules of Engagement, which has seen several of its leading cast members book pilots in first position, is not expected to return with a formal decision expected in the coming weeks.