'Two and a Half Men' ratings huge! Ashton Kutcher debut delivers series high

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Two and a Half Men premiere ratings are in. And they’re jaw dropping. Stunningly huge.

The ninth season premiere, starring Ashton Kutcher taking over for Charlie Sheen, delivered 27.7 million viewers Monday night — that’s in the ballpark of an American Idol premiere.

Even more impressive: The sitcom scored a 10.3 rating among adults 18-49. That’s easily an all-time high for the show, and up 110 percent over last fall’s eighth-season debut with Sheen. Everybody expected the sitcom’s first new episode back would perform strong, but not like this (see Ken Tucker’s take here). Men had the highest-rated season premiere for a scripted series since Desperate Housewives premiered six years ago.

CBS’ entire comedy lineup was strong, with the night opening with back-to-back episodes of How I Met Your Mother (11.3 million, 4.7 and 12.2 million, 5.1, respectively) that were much higher than last fall’s premiere. Following Men, new comedy 2 Broke Girls did a giant 19.1 million viewers and a 7.0 rating — down, as one would expect, from its giant lead-in, but still likely to dwarf any other new scripted series debut this fall. The only CBS show that didn’t seem to benefit from the Men surge was Hawaii Five-0 (12 million, 3.4) at 10 p.m., which was down 13 percent from last fall, yet still won the 10 p.m. hour.

Over on NBC, another much-buzzed-about premiere had a very different fate: The Playboy Club has been drawing controversial headlines for its association with the adult magazine brand, but it bombed out at 10 p.m., drawing only 5 million viewers and a 1.6 rating. Its two-hour lead-in, the first fall edition of The Sing Off (5.2 million, 1.9), also performed weakly.

CBS also crushed the premiere of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars (18.6 million, 3.9), which has been some drawing press attention, too, for the inclusion of Chaz Bono. While ABC held up better than any other CBS rival, the two-hour premiere was down a sharp 24 percent from last fall’s edition. Good news at 10 p.m. for the network, though: The return of Castle (13.6 million, 3.3) was up 22 percent from last year and gave Hawaii a run for its money.

Also Monday: The season finale of Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen (5.8 million, 2.5) held up well under the bombardment of premieres.

Turning this over to you: What’s your take on the new Monday shows?

UPDATE: Charlie Sheen roast ratings are in

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More ‘Two and a Half Men’:
Ken Tucker’s take on ‘Two and a Half Men’ premiere
Charlie Sheen close to settling case with ‘Men’ ex-bosses, say sources
Charlie Sheen says he’d guest star on ‘Men’

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Comments (396 total) Add your comment
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  • cory

    people, you have to realize it’s less about kutcher than it is about finding out how it work without charlie. reviews say it won’t

    • Katie

      Yeah, I think it will be crashing and burning soon. I thought it was pretty awful and just tuned in to see the dynamic between ashton and the rest. Won’t be tuning in again.

      • karen

        yeah i won’t be watching it anymore. i only watched last night to see how they sent Charlie off. It was awful. I can’t believe after 8 yrs they would be that vicious about someone that helped make the show a success in the first place.. i don’t think they went the right way when they brought in Ashton.

      • RIIIIIGHT

        You and the rest of the sheep will watch as long as the stories deliver. And don’t feed me “it’s the principle of the thing” either—if you cared at all about Charlie Sheen, you would have called or written CBS and told them to can his butt until he got his life under control.

      • Jeff

        I just wanted to see how they would kill off Charlie. The rest of the show was awful and I flipped back to football after Ashton went up for a three-some. This will break records again next week for losing the highest percentage of viewers in a 2nd week.

      • As LOL would say…

        “America Loves Crap!”

      • kaiser roll

        I thought the episode writing was ok, but kutcher’s acting is horrible. and his background of being a rich, no woman getting geek is completely unbelievable. kutcher didn’t look comfortable trying to convey this ridiculous character description.

      • kaiser roll

        how about that crappy waitress show on afterward? what a bunch of garbage, the lead chick has plenty where it counts, butt little acting ability. script weak also.

      • grace

        I used to love this show. What happened?

      • Rock

        Not a smart move adding Kutcher no real comic chemistry with Cryor. That should had “Herb” divorce Judith and move in Charlie’s house
        Now theres comic chemisty
        T

    • TopherGraceSucks

      Topher Grace would have delivered the lowest ratings in show, and possibly television, history

      • You need help

        @ToperGraceSucks; What the h@@@ is wrong with you? Are you a insane stalker? Are you out of your mind? I don’t know what your problem is with Toper Grace, but, you sound just like a nut job who stalks and kills famous people because they did not seek mental help. See a real doctor, before you do something you reject, jerk wad.

      • SH

        Tohpher Grace calls himself Topher. I’ve heard that story about it being a nickname or w/e but people call you what you want to be called and he wants to be called Topher. +1 TopherGraceSucks

      • Nikki

        Topher is short for ChrisTOPHER. It’s not rocket science people.

      • Brie

        I hope people realize that TopherGraceSucks is actually Topher Grace. It is SPAIF…Self Promotion At Its Finest.

      • April

        +1

    • Veracity

      To be fair, it didn’t work WITH Charlie.

      • thomas mc

        Yeah, I quit watching it when he was on, but I did watch again last night.

      • BQTX

        truth. This show is horrible.

      • Sims

        To be extra fair, I won’t continue to watch…I realized Charlie Sheen was playing himself on the show, and no Charlie…what’s the point…

      • grace

        This show was terrible. You guys must all be on drugs or whatever.

    • ccc

      It won’t draw half that next week! Did I say weak?

      • PN

        I think people watched it out of curiosity. But can it keep those numbers and high ratings or most of it the second week? Let alone the next 22 to 24 new shows this season? Monday night was packed with new shows competing against each other and I hope that Two and a Half Men can keep that momentum.

      • steve

        oh man this show sucked. Give it a rest guys

    • Saran

      I love the fact that Eddie Cibrian’s new show bombed. Talk about karma. What a loser.

      • Eric P

        Actually The Playboy Club was the show i actually enjoyed. I thought 2 broke girls was ok. I’ll pass on the rest.

      • Suzanne

        I agree. Karma is a bitch, Eddie and it’s time for your visit.

    • Rush

      It won’t last.

      • Tom

        It’s just not the same without Charlie. I had to say it.

    • MsP

      Some us watched because we also liked Jon and Angus. You know there were 4 main characters and 2 support not just 1. And they all read a script.

    • Buck

      Hah, most tuned in out of curiosity than actually committing to the show, so in the following weeks, the actual ratings should tell the tale of the show’s staying power. It was alright, but not the same.

      Yep, Charlie playing himself on the show is what drove peeps to watch it week after week. No fault of Kutchner, but he’s not Charlie Sheen.

      • Leslie

        BINGO!

    • JaySin420

      I’ve only seen a few reruns since the whole Sheen thing went down but I tuned in cause I was curious.

      And damn was it bad! Like seriously one of the least funny sitcoms I have ever seen in my life.

      It’s going to be insane how much these ratings drop in the next few weeks!

    • Leslie

      Horrible! Just horrible! I hated it. I will watch the old re-runs. The way they let Charlie go was bull-shigitty! How tasteless. The references they made to him and how he died, the funeral, and the urn scene convinced me that I do not want to see anymore of this crap.

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    • GP

      I agree, i tuned in just like millions others to see what it was all about. It was PATHETIC.
      No offense to Ashton, but he aint no Charlie, sooy.
      I watched it again yesterday and still the same feeling. Show aint gonna make it without Charlie.

    • g77

      Ashton cannot replace Charlie — He sucks
      Bring back Charlie Sheen

  • YRBB

    Holy crap! HUGE numbers!

    • MD

      And the numbers will be crap next week.

  • Sven

    Can’t say it’s surprising with all the buzz Sheen created and people wanting to see what would happen to the show. I’m expecting a serious drop over the next couple of weeks.

    • Lucy

      I watched but it isn’t the same w/o Charlie. I don’t like Ashton’s long hair and beard either.

      • Mitch Logan

        Well then stop having sex with him.

    • sue

      You cant judge this one by the ratings, all of the reviews I have read have been terrible. I watched and agree with the terrible reviews.

      • Riverdale

        Frankly, it wasn’t any worse than when Charlie Sheen was on it. I laughed a few times last night, as I laughed a few times previously.

        2-1/2 Men didn’t get big ratings because of Charlie Sheen only. There ARE other actors/writers, etc. involved; however, I never really understood what bit of chemistry that made it so popular.

        I personally like Ashton (due to my fondness for the 70s) but as Charlie said at the Emmys “I wish them great success. “

  • Jane

    …and next week news would be how much the ratings will drop for the second episode.

    I think Ashton Kutcher did a good job and he had chemistry with Jon Cryer. I can actually see this work. We’ll see.

    • frankie

      it wasnt the same….the dynamics are all wrong..Ashton didnt gel with Cryer like charlie did….will not tune in anymore… no hard feelings Ashton…sure your not too worried…. your still getting PAID:)

      • Really?

        It’s the first episode. It always takes some time to develop chemistry. Give it a chance…

      • Jack

        Kutcher sucked (no surprise). This show is doomed.

    • dfdfxb

      Chemistry, huh? how gay..

  • Andrew

    @EW The reason the rating was so high is because of the publicity generated for the show by Charlie Sheen, not because of interest in Ashton.

    • Daw Johnson

      Not true at all.

      If so, Two and a Half Men would have seen a bigger boost for the final episodes last season, which were airing as the meltdown was happening.

      • MD

        People wanted to see how they would kill off Charlie.

      • Ryan

        Andrew right. Daw wrong!!!!!

    • PN

      Oh they definitely wanted to see it because of Ashton. People know him from his movies the past several years and got into his new role on the sitcom.

  • Johnification

    Sorry Universe, it’s my fault! I never watch the show (ever), but was just so darn curious! Sorry!

    • Shannon

      Yeah this was me too!! I have never watched an episode of this show but I couldn’t help myself this week!! I doubt I’ll watch again but I had to check out what all the hype was about!

    • Fanny

      Me too. I’ve watched maybe 5 minutes total of this show over the years and I have always thought it was painfully unfunny and cliche but I couldn’t help myself. I had to see how they killed Charlie Sheen. I actually like Ashton Kutcher’s one-note character (that he plays in every role) but you can’t escape how horrible this show was to begin with.

    • Woot

      Ugh me too. I saw parts of it years ago and hated it… but I just couldn’t help but watch the premiere.

      • jaytee

        the show suckssss…. ashton sucks…. it’s never going to work, the only reason people are still watching it, it’s to see just how much more stupid it gets kind of like the Seinfeld show…….

    • Cara

      Agreed. I watched to see what it would look like. I will not watch again. It was not very funny when you compare it to some other comedies out there.

  • dave j

    I loved it! I will keep watching..

    • Nathan

      You’re the only one.

      • Aurora

        count me as #2

      • Mia

        Me three!

    • mrlmonroe

      me 4!

      • Terry falcon

        I am done watching.

  • tina

    I THOUGHT THAT THE PREMIER OF 2 1/2 MEN SUCKED ASHTON IS JUST AN OLDER VERSION OF ALANS KID PEOPLE JUST DONT KNOW FUNNY ANYMORE, HE SUCKS IN THE ROLE AND TAKE MY ADVICE THE SHOW IS GOING TO FLOP

    • Ian

      Drop the caps, learn the definition of ADVICE (hint: you didn’t give any), and learn how to punctuate.

      • @Ian

        Bossy much?

      • RIIIIIGHT

        Well, it’s not like tina isn’t an idiot.

      • hater

        you know what tina meant screw your answer

      • jt

        WHOA ,CHECK OUT THE BIG BRAIN ON IAN’S SHOULDERS

    • frankie

      agreed!

    • jimmy

      YOU ARE AN IDIOT.

    • sonny

      i agree ashtons character actes just like an older version of dingleberrys kid ,the chemistry between sheen and john cryer made the show (sheen insulting cryer on the show i mean)

  • ADAM

    I know everybody is gonna go crazy about how big the numbers are but I’ll wait. If it’s still doing better than Sheen numbers in a month then I’ll be impressed.

    • Monty

      I’m guessing that the show will deliver less total viewers than it did before but will go up in the target demo. People like to see/watch Ashton Kutcher (That 70′s Show, twitter) but don’t like to PAY to see Ashton (Killers, FwB, any other movie he’s been in over the past 4 years)

      • Juan Carlos

        Ashton was in “No Strings Attached” not “Friends with Benefits.”

      • Cara

        Juan, was there really a difference? Thos two movies were exactly the same right down to the cheesy dialogue.

      • wakeforce

        And Cara was the idiot who went to see BOTH movies.

    • GP

      From the looks of it, I can not see it

  • john

    Producers sent charlie a you aint coming back message. We will bring back characters from past shows but not you

    • jt

      suprised chuck up lorre didd’t replace charlie with the little jewish bloke on the big bang theroy. I reckon lorre based that charater on himself, pathetic little sex starved turd, who could’nt get laid in a brothel with a fistful of fifties.

  • Nate

    Those are much higher numbers than I expected. As for the show itself, it was funnier than I expected. Granted, it’s still trashy low comedy, but I didn’t miss Charlie Sheen that much. Now if they would just give Angus T. Jones more to do than fart and eat, the quality of the show may tick up a notch.

  • Nadine

    I enjoyed the show, I think they did a great job, especially considering all they had to accomplish in one episode.

  • Jay

    This show is the same with or without Charlie….. low-brow humor, that can be somewhat amusing at times.

    I never understood why the show was a hit in the first place, but whatever

    • GP

      Cause it was down-right funny. Charlie and cast were. Now with Ashton, show S…ks., sorry.

  • Stacey

    Artificially high. Given people were watching because of Charlie. Now Ashton will have to keep them. I expect a major down grading by mid season or even earlier. Next week could be brutal for the ratings. Because I have seen bad reviews of the episode!

  • antonio

    It’s about the other actors who made the show great! Sheen was awesome but so was everyone else who made the show. Kutcher is a good addition. Show was pretty damn good last night. I will watch until another immediate family member dies off.

    • Tim

      I will watch just to give it a chance. Sheen was great in that role because he didn’t have to act, he really was “Charlie”. It would be nice to see Ashton break out of the Kelso role for a change. From judging last night, I saw alot of Kelso!

    • Janice

      I agree Tim. I actually stopped watching years ago. It was the same show every week, except Charlie was sleeping with a different woman. I really liked the show last night and will definately watch this season.

    • Brian

      I have watched approximately 2 episodes ever of Two and Half Men. My 3rd was last night, and I liked it. I never liked Charlie Sheen, and I think that, although the chemistry was a little rough between them, Ashton will get comfortable in his role and the show will be a success.

      Honestly, it only has to compete with faux-reality/live shows anyways, so anyone who doesn’t like that crap (count me in on that) will watch Men by default. I, on the other hand, will watch it because I thought it was entertaining and has good potential.

      • LOL

        America gets the crap it deserves.

      • MD

        It will be up against House, which isn’t a “faux-reality/live show” and wasn’t on last night. I would rather watch the worst episode of House than watch another episode of this show with Kutcher.

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