By Christy Strawser, CBS Detroit Managing Editor
Think scripted half-hour sitcoms are dead? Don’t write the eulogy just yet.
The death of Charlie Sheen’s character on CBS’ “Two And A Half Men” and the introduction of affable Ashton Kutcher drew a record 27.8 million views on premiere night Monday.
Huffington Post reported that it was the highest rated episode in the show’s history.
To get a sense of what that means, note that the “Dancing With The Stars” premiere on ABC drew 18.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen.
The “Two And A Half Men” premiere followed months of wacky highlights from former lead castmate Charlie Sheen, who created an Internet sensation with video rants about his Tiger blood, creation of the catchphrase “winning!” and Twitter free-for-alls.
Sheen, who has been in and out of rehab for drug and alcohol abuse over the years, was fired from the show last season after blasting show creator Chuck Lorre, calling him a “clown” and mocking his Jewish heritage in a TMZ interview in February. He also called Lorre “stupid” and said he had an “unevolved mind.”
It’s assuredly no coincidence that writers killed off Sheen in the premiere episode by having a girlfriend push his character in front of a train.
That set the stage for Kutcher to claim a new role as a gentle, bearded billionaire with a soft heart. Watch the full episode here.