EXCLUSIVE: The leading men of CBS‘ veteran comedy Two And A Half Men are staying put. I’ve learned that Ashton Kutcher, Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones, whose contracts were up at the end of this season, are inches away from an agreement in principal for new one-year deals that will bring them back for next season — the series 10th and second with Kutcher as the star after he replaced Charlie Sheen. Word is that the trio are returning at their current salaries, with all three getting signing bonuses. Kutcher is believed to be earning about $700,000 per episode, Cryer a bit less and Jones $300,000 an episode. Jones’ bonus at the last contract re-upping was $500,000.
With the Kutcher, Cryer and Jones deals pretty much done, CBS, which had been negotiating with the trio, is turning its attention to hammering out a new license deal with Warner Bros TV, the studio that produces Two And A Half Men. That deal is expected to close by CBS’ upfront presentation May 16 if not sooner. While Kutcher, Cryer and Jones have agreed to only one season, and there has been speculation that Men co-creator/showrunner Chuck Lorre is considering ending the series after 10 seasons, no final decision has been made whether to make next season the series’ last.
Securing Men is key to CBS’ plan to possibly expand its comedy presence on Thursday and air two-hour comedy blocks on both Monday and Thursday. The veteran comedy, along with renewed How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory and 2 Broke Girls, would provide anchors at 8 PM and 9 PM on both nights.