Ashton Kutcher will play Internet billionaire on 'Men'

LOS ANGELES

Nina Tassler with CBS Entertainment shared this information about the highly anticipated cast change with the media on Wednesday. Last season, "Men" saw the stormy exit of /*Charlie Sheen*/, who had an eight-season run with the show as a fast-living womanizer.

Sheen's clashes with the show's creator Chuck Lorre and CBS resulted in his firing in March, and the season was shuttered early.

/*Kutcher*/'s character, Walden Schmidt, will have no family connection to the characters played by continuing stars Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones, who played the brother and nephew of Sheen's discontinued character.

Tassler did not confirm reports that the new season of "Men" begins with the death of Sheen's character, Charlie Harper, and a funeral.

"The mystery is part of the marketing," she said.

Tassler described Kutcher as "an extraordinarily professional, talented, funny, gifted actor who comes with a tremendous amount of commitment and enthusiasm."

Kutcher and his "Men" co-stars were absent from Wednesday's sessions of the Television Critics Association, which was visited by cast members from several of CBS' new fall shows.

Asked why the "Men" gang wasn't on hand, Tassler replied that the show is in production. It resumed shooting Monday, and a break for a meeting across town with reporters would have been too disruptive, she explained.

"Men" begins its ninth season on Sept. 19 with a two-part kickoff episode.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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