CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler focused firmly
on the future when asked by critics about the network's hit sitcom Two and a
Half Men without former star Charlie Sheen, declining Wednesday morning to
detail any regrets about how the Sheen debacle could have gone differently.
"Who could have predicted that we would be here six
months ago?" Tassler told critics during her executive Q&A at CBS portion
of the TCA press tour in Beverly Hills.
When pressed by critics who said that Sheen's pattern of
behavior should have indicated the relationship could have come to him exiting
the show, she reiterated that CBS is focused on the future. "We look at where
we are today, I look at where we were six months ago, and our whole focus is
moving forward," Tassler said. She called Ashton Kutcher, who is stepping into
the show this fall in Sheen's place, "an extraordinary actor," "incredible
professional" and noted that she is happy to have someone "committed to doing
Tassler wouldn't give specific ratings expectations
for the show in the Kutcher era of Men,
but said: "In time certainly we're going to do very well."
Kutcher will portray a character named Walden Schmidt, an
Internet billionaire with a broken heart, Tassler said. She would not confirm
reports that Sheen's character would be killed off, with the season beginning
with his funeral.
As for why the show's cast and producers are not
participating in Wednesday's press tour, she said because they are in production.
When a critic pointed out that other shows are in production and still show up
to press tour, she said she "would be lying if I didn't say when everyone
walked on that set Monday you could cut the air with a knife."
"The great news is the show will be as irreverent as it
has always been," Tassler said, adding that the program practices department is
"on high alert."