On The Ranch, a multi-camera comedy revolving around the dysfunctional Bennett family on their Colorado ranch, Shepard will play Luke Matthews, a former soldier who has come to Garrison with some history concerning the Iron River Ranch. He meets the Bennetts and forms an immediate bond with Colt (Ashton Kutcher) and his father Beau (Sam Elliott), but Luke’s past has a way of catching up with him.
Shepard is not a series regular — he just signed on as the male lead opposite Lake Bell in Fox’s comedy pilot Bless This Mess — and is not a replacement for former The Ranch co-lead Danny Masterson the way Kutcher was for Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men, sources said. (Coincidentally, The Ranch creators Jim Patterson and Don Reo worked on 2.5 Men, which also was centered on two brothers, with the actor playing one of them, Sheen, abruptly leaving the show.)
Still, Shepard, who is expected to appear in roughly half of the 10 episodes I hear, would likely help fill the void left by the exit of Masterson, who played Colt’s older brother Rooster. The That ’70s Show alum was let go in December, amid resurfaced sexual assault accusations, with one episode left to film from the first 10 episodes of The Ranch‘s third season. These episodes are yet to get a premiere date by Netflix. The remaining 10 episodes are being filmed this year after a hiatus.
Like Masterson, who had previously co-starred with Kutcher on That ’70s Show, Shepard also has worked with Kutcher before, on MTV’s Punk’d. Kutcher referenced the duo’s history in a photo he tweeted today of them on The Ranch set.
In Shepard’s first series regular role since the end of NBC’s Parenthood in 2015, he recently was tapped as the male lead opposite Bell in Bell and Liz Meriwether’s single-camera Fox pilot Bless This Mess, which will film in June.
Shepard’s recent credits include the feature CHIPS, which he wrote, directed and starred in, and Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later. He recently launched “Armchair Expert,” a podcast where he sits down with creative personalities. Shepard is repped by WME and attorney James Feldman.