'Two and a Half Men' Showrunner Lee Aronsohn Steps Down
Don Reo and Jim Patterson have been upped to co-showrunner with Chuck Lorre.
Two and a Half Men stars Ashton Kutcher, Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones have locked one-year deals to return to the hit sitcom in the fall. But the CBS series will have different bosses at the helm next season, as showrunner Lee Aronsohn is giving up the reins. Writer-producers Don Reo and Jim Patterson will be elevated to co-showrunners with co-creator Chuck Lorre, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. Aronsohn is said to be segueing into an "executive consultant" role.
Men is still awaiting an official pickup by CBS, so the moves will take effect only if the show returns for a 10th season. But with the cast signed, the network is said to be close to a greenlight after financial details with producer Warner Bros. Television can be worked out. Two and a Half Men is a financial cash cow for CBS and WBTV, though ratings for the show have been down lately, hitting a series-low mark in March. Still, this season's average is higher than last year, thanks to huge fall numbers fueled by Kutcher replacing fired star Charlie Sheen in the cast.
Aronsohn has been with the show since the beginning, but he came under fire in April for comments he made to THR about female-driven shows at a Toronto screenwriting conference.
"Enough, ladies. I get it. You have periods," he said when discussing the current boom in women-centric television. He applauded such creators as Whitney Cummings, Chelsea Handler and Tina Fey for discussing formerly taboo subjects on TV. "But we’re approaching peak vagina on television, the point of labia saturation," he said.
The comments were interpreted by some as sexist. Raising Hope star Martha Plimpton, for instance, wrote on Twitter: "Um, Lee, women are 51% of the population & a coveted demographic for advertisers. What are you thinking?"
Sources say the Men shakeup has been in the works for months and is not related to Aronsohn's comments. One source tells THR that Lorre one of TV's busiest writer-producers with Men, Big Bang Theory and Mike and Molly on CBS, will be taking a diminished role in Men for Season 10. But another source says Lorre will continue in his current role, overseeing the showrunning teams on all his shows and becoming more hands-on when necessary.
In addition to the new showrunners, longtime Men writer-producer Eddie Gorodetsky is said to be returning as an executive producer. He also will maintain his consulting producer role on Big Bang Theory.