Ashton Kutcher’s “Two and a Half Men” character name has been revealed.
“His name is Walden Schmidt,” CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler told reporters at CBS’ portion of the Television Critics Association Summer Session in Beverly Hills on Wednesday.
“He is an internet billionaire with a broken heart and it will be a two-parter (two part episode) over two weeks,” Nina said of the character’s introduction to the show, which stars Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones.
Tassler would not confirm if Kutcher’s character, Walden, is related to Alan Harper (Cryer) and his son, Jake Harper (Jones).
“A little bit of the mystery is part of the marketing. He is a unique character,” she said.
Tassler also opted not to disclose if “Two and A Half Men” would kick off with the funeral of Charlie Sheen’s character, Charlie, as had been reported online.
“I know that was out there, I’m not going to confirm or deny that,” she said. “The information that I gave you is confirmed. As we said in the whole marketing plan, all will be revealed… the mystery is part of the marketing. It’s going to be a big event.”
When asked if CBS could have done anything differently regarding the “… Men” situation with Sheen over the last several months, Tassler said the network wants to move on from the situation.
“Our whole focus right now is moving forward. We have an extraordinary actor in Ashton Kutcher, you have someone who is committed to doing their job, to being professional,” she said. “Six months ago to today, we’re worlds apart… I’m just happy to be where we are today.”
Tassler said there was a tense atmosphere on the first day of production on “… Men,” which happened earlier this week.
“When everyone walked on that set on Monday, you could cut the air with a knife,” she said during the panel, something she clarified to Access Hollywood following the TCA session.
“Well I think it’s that first moment, where actually the anticipation was so great,” she said after the panel, in response to a question from Access. “But, I think when you hear that first actor mutter that first line, you breathe a sigh of relief.”
Tassler revealed that Chuck Lorre, the creator of “… Men” actually gave a speech before production began on the show.
“He gave a little speech. It was really beautiful and … I can’t even remember the words, it was just something very touching,” she said.
As for the retooled show without Sheen, Tassler said, in her opinion, it will still be funny and will appeal to more than just the die hard “…Men” fans.
“I read it a couple of weeks ago,” she said of the first script of the 2011-2012 season. “Let me just say that it was as smart and as funny and as irreverent and risque as the show has always been and has that tradition. I think people who are fans of the show will be really happy and I feel that the show now has an opportunity to recruit a new audience.”
And it appears that Kutcher may not have had to make many physical adjustments to appear as Walden – like shaving or cutting his hair.
“He looks great. He’s made some very smart choices with Chuck [Lorre] about the look of his character,” Tassler said in response to a reporter’s question about whether Kutcher had to shave or cut his hair. “He’s an incredibly attractive, appealing guy and no network notes about it. He looks great.”
When asked if she would ever work with Sheen again, Tassler said, “Charlie’s moved on to greener pastures, he’s obviously got a lot of opportunity on his slate, so he’s busy.”