[08/03/11 - 10:33 AM]
Tassler: Meet Walden Schmidt, Ashton Kutcher's "Two and a Half Men" Character
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- "Oh where do I begin," CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler said about the lessons learned from the Charlie Sheen situation on "Two and a Half Men." Tassler was on hand for the network's executive session at the TCA Summer Press Tour, where talk of Sheen and Ashton Kutcher not surprisingly dominated the conversation.

"There is great value in hiring an actor like Ashton Kutcher," she continued with regards to the aforementioned lessons. "He is [an] extraordinarily professional, talented, funny, gifted actor who comes with a tremendous amount of commitment and enthusiasm."

As for specifics about Kutcher's character, Tassler announced his name is Walden Schmidt. "He is a internet billionaire with a broken heart," she added, noting he won't be related to any of the current cast. "He is a unique character."

Tassler also said the season premiere "will be a two-parter over two weeks" and that the show will be "as irreverent as it has always been. Our program practices people are already on high alert."

She however wouldn't confirm or deny that Sheen's character is killed off on the show. "As we said in the whole marketing plan, all will be revealed on [September 19]. The mystery is a part of the marketing. It's going to be a big event."

As for other topics:

-- Tassler revealed Terry O'Quinn's arc on "Hawaii Five-0" will be six episodes. He plays a Navy Seal Lt. Commander who trained McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) in Coronado, and served with his father in Vietnam.

-- On how NFL overruns in parts of the country will affect "The Good Wife" in its new Sunday home: "The show will start maybe a little bit later but we have plans certainly in place to accommodate the show when there are overruns [and] for the whole night in general."

-- "We see Saturday night as an opportunity," Tassler says about "Rules of Engagement's" new Saturday time period. "Advertisers like comedies. It's a terrific show. We see this as an opportunity for us."

-- Tassler said they may do another "Jesse Stone" movie but beyond that there are no plans for any more TV movies or mini-series. "The schedule right now is very strong. We just didn't have enough room for them."

-- On the casting of Ted Danson in "CSI": "He's a huge TV star. He's got a tremendous amount of charisma. And it was really what we wanted in the show right now. When his name came up we jumped at it, we were thrilled to have him." When pressed if they considered going younger, Tassler affirmed that "we went for the best actor."

-- "I just don't think it founds its rhythm," Tassler said about the failure of "Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior." "It didn't click."

-- "First I think they should stick to comedy and check their stats a little better," Tassler said with regards to CBS being the frequent butt of comedians' jokes about skewing old. "Because we still have more 18-49 [viewers] than NBC and ABC so maybe they stay with comedy and not worry about demos and ratings so much."

-- As for its midseason plans, Tassler simply affirmed they have "The 2-2," "Undercover Boss" and are shooting a new pilot for "Rob," its Rob Schneider comedy.

-- "We are still actively looking for what is going to be new and different in the performance, competition, elimination, unscripted reality show," Tassler said with regards to CBS not having its own take on the genre. "We have a couple of things in development."

-- "There are no updates beyond 2012," Tassler said about the network's late-night lineup of David Letterman and Craig Ferguson.

  [august 2011]  

· NYC 22 (CBS)

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