CBS’s ‘Two and a Half Men’ will return in September

June 29, 2011

CBS will reveal to viewers Sept. 19 what happened to Charlie Harper.

That’s the date the network has set for the return of “Two and a Half Men” to its Monday lineup — sans Charlie Sheen, who played the jingle-writing, Malibu-home-owning butterfly.

Current speculation has show creator Chuck Lorre mulling over the idea of having Harper drive his car off a cliff. You can see Lorre’s point, given the things Sheen said about the show runner during the actor’s Ranting on the Radio period, shortly before Warner Bros. TV, which produces the show, decided to give Sheen the hook.

Others say that speculation is just wishful thinking.

Anyway, “Men” will have some explaining to do what with Sheen out and Ashton Kutcher moving in. The episode, scheduled for 9:30 that night, is sure to pack a ratings wallop.

That’s great news for “2 Broke Girls,” the new CBS sitcom scheduled to air at 8:30 p.m. Mondays. For its debut only, “2 Broke Girls” gets the plum time-slot right after “Men.”

CBS programming chief Nina Tassler told reporters in May that “2 Broke Girls” was the network’s highest-testing series pilot ever.

On Wednesday, CBS announced plans to roll out almost all its new and returning series during the week of Sept. 19, the start of the official TV season, a.k.a. Premiere Week. That is maybe bad news for ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” what with the competition show scheduled to debut that same Monday night, in the teeth of “Men.”

Clever Fox — no doubt anticipating that CBS would, as usual, unspool its schedule during Premiere Week — had already announced that it would steer clear of the night, waiting until the next Monday (Sept. 26) to air the two-hour premiere of its sci-fi series “Terra Nova.”

That means “House,” the regularly scheduled competition to “Men,” won’t take on the CBS sitcom until Oct. 3.

Likewise, CW had already announced it would stand down Sept. 19 and wait until the next Monday to unleash its “Men” competition: a little thing called “Hart of Dixie.”

In “Dixie,” Rachel Bilson plays a sophisticated New York doctor who finds herself practicing medicine in a small Southern town, where the other chicks her age are snobs in hoop skirts.

At press time, NBC had not announced its new-season plans. The fourth-place network has scheduled the two-hour singing competition series “The Sing-Off” for Monday nights at 8.

Playboy’s Utah home

NBC has found a home for its Playboy bunnies in Salt Lake City.

The network’s new drama series “The Playboy Club” had been homeless in the market since the local NBC affiliate, KSL, announced two weeks ago that it refused to air the show.

MyNetworkTV station KMYU has agreed to air the show in the Monday 9 p.m. slot in which NBC intended it to air. (Prime time starts an hour earlier in that part of the country.)

KSL, owned by a media company that is controlled by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said that it had bounced the bunnies from its lineup because of the brand.

“For us, the issue is about the Playboy brand, something we believe is associated with pornography and something we don’t want to further in our programming,” Michelle Torsak, KSL’s programming chief, told The TV Column at the time.

She acknowledged that station suits had not seen the full pilot episode of the series, just the four-minute “sizzle reel” shown to station executives and advertisers in mid-May at NBC’s Upfront Week presentation in Manhattan.

“It’s entirely possible that the actual content [of ‘The Playboy Club’] is comparable to anything else on network television,” Torsak said.

“The Playboy Club,” set in the ’60s, stars Eddie Cibrian as playboy Nick Dalton, a club regular who is one of Chicago’s top lawyers, has a mob past and is running for Chicago district attorney.

In the first episode, Dalton comes to the rescue of new bunny Maureen after she accidentally puts her stiletto heel through the skull of mob boss Clyde Hill while fending off Clyde’s advances in a back room at the club.

Seriously.

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