January 11, 2012 11:13am PT by Lesley Goldberg
TCA: Chuck Lorre on the Future of 'Two and a Half Men,' Doing 'Poop' Jokes
Chuck Lorre told reporters he'd like to see CBS' Two and a Half Men move on for a 10th season and responded to former star Charlie Sheen's claims that the show's "poop jokes" are lazy.
"Is there a 10th season, or really should we call it Year 2? I don't know. I hope so," the prolific showrunner said Wednesday following the show's panel at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour.
After replacing Sheen with Ashton Kutcher and relaunching the Monday night comedy to a massive 28 million viewers in September, Lorre said he felt the ratings warranted an additional season but the future of the show -- and its cast -- remain unclear. Kutcher signed a one-year deal and co-star Angus T. Jones, Lorre said, will be heading to college.
"CBS has not said anything to us about the future, and again, it's another issue about Ashton and Angus," he said, adding that the serious relationship Kutcher's Walden is embarking on has provided the writers with ample material for another 22-episode season. (So much material, in fact, that it will see Kutcher shed his long hair and beard.)
Lorre and the Two and a Half Men session came days after Sheen, appearing at a Fox TCA party for his upcoming FX comedy Anger Management, said he didn't want Men to be his television legacy and "wanted to do a show and play a character that dealt with more mature themes."
"A lot of times on the other show I felt like we were servicing the comedy and not allowing it to come out of character situations," he told THR of Men's humor, later adding that Anger Management would refrain from fart, poop and masturbating jokes.
"It made him a very wealthy man," Lorre said of the show's humor when asked to respond to Sheen's comments, before addressing those -- like Sheen -- who think the show's writing is lazy. "We're not seeking out the lowest common denominator; we're seeking out a way to make people laugh, that's all."
With three shows on the air, Lorre called the Men a "critical undertaking" and said he remains very much involved. "This has been such a critical undertaking for me, personally, to try and keep the lights on and not just keep them on, but can we do this? It remains pretty exciting to try and pull this rabbit out of a hat."
Asked how he would do things differently if he could go back a year, Lorre quipped, "I don't know. I did the best that I could."
Two and a Half Men airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBS.