Hugh Grant: A missed opportunity for "Two and a Half Men"?

British actor Hugh Grant poses for the photographers as he arrives for the European premiere of the "Fire in Babylon" film at a central London's cinema, May 9, 2011. AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

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(CBS) Ashton Kutcher is replacing Charlie Sheen on "Two and a Half Men" but the show almost went with a different star: Hugh Grant.

Pictures: Hugh Grant
Pictures: Charlie Sheen

Grant seems like an odd replacement for Sheen. Though Grant played a lothario in the Bridget Jones movies and a self-centered, self-hating jerk in "About a Boy" (and played those parts well), he's perhaps best known as an Englishman with floppy hair and a cute stammer.

Deadspin reports Grant was nearing a deal with Warner Bros. but backed out because of the grind of doing 24 episodes of television. The money offered to Grant isn't known precisely, but Deadspin floats the idea $1 million per episode (if it was that much) would have been fine with Grant. The problem was the work schedule.

Would such a different type of actor from Sheen have gone over well on the sitcom? Hard to say. On dramas, audiences seem to take actor changes in stride (think "Law & Order," "Criminal Minds") more often than they don't.

On sitcoms, the jury's out. For every successful replacement - Kirstie Alley replacing Shelley Long on "Cheers" or Sheen replacing Michael J. Fox on "Spin City," for example - there seems to be a change that goes down like a lead zeppelin. Think of the retooling of the ninth season of "Scrubs" or Josh Meyers playing a new character on "That '70s Show" after Topher Grace departed.

So what would Grant have done on the series? Would he have been the weird, drunk Englishman who comes to tutor Angus T. Jones in algebra and stays to teach him about broads, booze and William F. Buckley? We'll never know. New episodes with Kutcher will begin filming this summer.

  • David Riedel

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