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Ashton Kutcher New Cast Member of "Two and a Half Men"; Brand New TV Shows for the Season; Simon Cowell is Back

Aired September 3, 2011 - 16:30:00   ET



A.J. HAMMER, CNN HOST (voice-over): Now on this special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" reveals the blockbuster secrets, the shocking surprises, of the brand-new TV season. "2 1/2 men surprises" Ashton Kutcher in for Charlie sheen. Will Ashton be fantastic?

Simon`s back. American Idol`s cranky judge Simon Cowell makes his big TV return on the X factor. Will he will naughty or nice?

They`re sexy, they`re smart, and they`re super funny.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are trying to help you.

HAMMER: An amazing behind the scenes look at the fabulous females of fall TV.

And TV`s future is looking very retro. An iconic airline takes flight. Angels earn their wings and dinosaurs room the earth. A special edition of TV`s most provocative entertainment news show, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s" blockbuster TV secrets and surprises starts right now.


HAMMER: Hello, I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. This is a special edition of "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT," TV`s secrets and surprises.

Now in just a few weeks, what may be the most explosive, heated and competitive new TV season ever begins. And "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" is teaming up with entertainment weekly to reveal the secrets and surprises that are headed your way. I can tell you, no show will be more closely watched than "Two and a Half Men" to see if whether or not Ashton Kutcher could fill Charlie Sheen`s shoes and really wined up winning.

He is the new man in "Two and a Half Men." Asher Kutcher`s first episode is Charlie Sheen`s replacement on the smash hit sitcom premiers on September 19 and "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" can tell you everyone is waiting to see if Ashton can step into Sheen`s shoes.

ADAM BUCKMAN, TV COLUMNIST, FANCAST.COM: The Ashton Kutcher story is the biggest story of his fall session season.

HAMMER: Ashton got the role in "Two and a Half Men" after a now legendary meltdown got Charlie Sheen kicked off the show. Kutcher is reportedly making $700,000 an episode in his new gig, much less than the $1.2 million Sheen was making, but still enough to make him TV`s highest paid sitcom star.

ASHTON KUTCHER, CAST MEMBER, TWO AND A HALF MEN: My chair`s name is Walton Smith.

HAMMER: On the late show with David Letterman, Ashton Kutcher finally spilled some hints about his character and how he`s introduced in the show.


KUTCHER: So, I`m playing a billionaire internet entrepreneur. I show up when Jon Cryer`s character needs me the most. I`m very heart broken over this breakup that`s taking place. I may in some way, shape or form be trying to kill myself.


HAMMER: Over the last few years, Ashton has been known mostly as a movie star and of course as Demi Moore`s husband, but now he`s got a tall order, taking the lead on TV`s number one sitcom, placing the superstar Charlie Sheen and winning over the show`s 12 million viewers. No pressure, Ashton.

BUCKMAN: It`s very risky and almost unprecedented to achieve that kind of equal success with a new cast member this late into a sitcom`s run.

HAMMER: Of course sitcoms aren`t exactly new territory for Ashton he got his first big break on the long running sitcom "that `70s show."


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: What is wrong with you, were you dropped on your head?

KUTCHER: Yes, I was. And up until now, everyone had the good grace not to mention it.


HAMMER: In fact, on Letterman, Ashton reveals something Robin Williams said while visiting the set of "that `70s show" that helped reignite his interest in sitcoms.


KUTCHER: He said I wish I could go back to work on a sitcom again and I never forgot that when I was on "that `70s show". I`m feel great just going to work every day and make people laugh.


HAMMER: Well, we all know Ashton can make people laugh, but as the new star of "Two and a Half Men", Ashton`s got an even bigger task, making people forget about Charlie Sheen.

So here`s our showbiz flash point tonight. Will Ashton Kutcher be a success on two and a half men?

With me right now, in New York, Dalton Ross is the assistant managing editor of "Entertainment Weekly" and Jessica Shaw, senior writer of EW. First of all guys, congrats on the new issue. It is terrific. There`s the cover right there. We have seen some photos of Ashton on the set of the show. Jon Cryer says he loves his new co-star. So what you know so far? From what you have been able to glean, is Ashton going to be a success? I think he is.

DALTON ROSS IS THE ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR OF ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Off the bat, definitely. Because there`s so much curiosity about how he`s going to do and how the show`s going to do without Charlie Sheen that people are going to tune in. Everyone wants to see what he`s going to do. So the real test is week three, and week four, are viewers going to stick around? Will they like what they see? And then we will see was it a good move fore him? And was a good move for CBS?

HAMMER: I think Ashton has what it takes to keep that audience, but yes, I`m as curious to see as anybody else.

"SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" was right there at the CBS upfront, that`s were the networks will shows off their fall line up to advertiser sent to us and we ask the star of the new show`s "Person of Interest", Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel, how they think, Ashton`s going to fare, here`s what they told us.


MICHAEL EMERSON, CAST MEMBER, PERSON OF INTEREST: I think he`s going to do just great, he`s really talented and charismatic and funny guy, and I think you know if they`re smart, they`ll let him just do his thing and create a character all of his own and put all past, lost characters out of their minds.


HAMMER: Yes. I mean Jessica do you think that`s exactly right that it`s Ashton`s charm that`s going to help the audience really forget about Charlie Sheen?

JESSICA SHAW, SENIOR WRITER, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Of course. And I also think it`s great for Jon Cryer because Jon Cryer`s character gets to be sort be the love coach to Ashton who`s so, you know, heart broken and his wife left him and whoever. And it gives Jon Cryer an opportunity to step up and show how funny he is because he has been in the background.

HAMMER: He feels like a second fiddle character.

SHAW: Absolutely.

ROSS: So now maybe there will be first and a half character.

SHAW: Exactly.

HAMMER: All right, well it`s interesting to see what happens on the eagerly awaiting just like everybody else. Dalton Ross, Jessica Shaw. And stay right where you guys are because you`ll be back in just a second. We`re going to be talking about TV`s big returns.

But right now, man oh, man, have we got some more surprises in store for you. The sizzling reading men of this TV`s season, Lost`s Mike Lamberson (ph) is back. I can`t wait to see what Simon Cowell is going to say on the X-factor.

And newly married Eddie Cibrian is all dressed-up. Take a look at this.


HAMMER: A shivering star as a snazzy lawyer connected to the mob in the playboy club.

EDDIE CIBRIAN. CAST MEMBER, THE PLAYBOY CLUB: My life was magic. But the rules were broken and fantasies became realities for everyone who walked through the doors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good evening, Mr. Dalton.

CIBRIAN: How are you tonight, Jane?


HAMMER: Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel team up to try to solve crimes before they happen, in J.J. Abrams` new CBS show "Person of Interest".


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve been watching you for a long time Mr. Reece, I know about the work you used to do for the government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think you need a job.


HAMMER: And he`s back. But will Simon Cowell actually have anything nice to say in the highly anticipated show "the x factor"?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow. You`re only a day away


PAULA ABDUL, JUDGE, THE X FACTOR: I just love your spirit, it`s wonderful.

SIMON COWELL, JUDGE, THE X FACTOR: Come baby, I`m going to say this. That`s exactly the words I`m going to use. I love your spirit.


HAMMER: Wow, Simon actually saying something nice there. And there are so many of TV`s big returns to talk about. So let`s get started.

Back with me now, New York`s Dalton Ross, assistant managing editor of "Entertainment Weekly" and Jessica Shaw, a senior writer of EW. And let`s begin with Simon guys. I mean, he`s returning to TV, and he`s always been somebody that we love to hate, yet they`re promoting the show by showing this nice side of him.

So Dalton, what do you think, is he actually going to be nice or is he still going to be someone we love to hate?

ROSS: He will be someone we love to hate. Look A.J., the voice on American idol just came off of very successful seasons. But if there`s one complaint about the show is that the judges were too nice. They didn`t offer a somewhat of criticism whatsoever. Simon Cowell will do that. He will be mean to the contestants. He will be mean to Paul, my "yogi bear" thing.

HAMMER: Is it a deja vu all over?

ROSS: Yes. He calls it like he sees it but usually it`s not sugarcoated in any way and has a few choice of words.

SHAW: And why, why would he bring back Pauley if not to be mean to her?

ROSS: She is the foil for him, for sure.

HAMMER: All right, let`s move on to another TV`s big return. One of my favorite shows and I`m so happy. Glee will be back and we keep hearing that big changes coming to the show.

Jessica, who do you think is going to be leader? Are we going to lose some of the main characters in this season?

SHAW: Well, Ryan Murphy, the creator and the producer, alluded to that some characters are going to be graduating and leaving, and then they weren`t and then they were. So there was a lot of back and forth but no, Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, not leaving, they will graduate because their seniors. But they`ll be back next year, we don`t know in what capacity.

HAMMER: It will be interesting to see.

All right, we must move on now to another one of TV`s big return minus one big star, "the office" Steve Correll. He`s not there. He ended his one and only show last season and "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" did speak with "the office" stars Ed Helms and John Krasinski. We had to get their take on life without Steve on the set so far. Here`s what they told us.


ED HELMS, STAR, THE OFFICE: Steve can`t be replaced. He is, he was a force of nature and he`s wonderful and amazing. But it exciting now as John was saying, like we`re now back on set and there`s a real ensemble energy now, a real ensemble vibe and the show has such an incredible cast, we`re just excited to kind of feel it out and see where it goes.


HAMMER: Now, Dalton? Big changes on the way. Some spoiler revealed in EW, two babies coming?

ROSS: Yes. Actress Jenna Fischer plays Pam, she`s pregnant in real life. We are going to write that in the real story lines so Pam and Jim having a baby and another mystery baby. My money`s on Angela but I think that just like about this year.

HAMMER: A mystery baby.

All right guys. Thanks so much, Dalton, Jessica. Appreciate it.

Moving on now, they are sexy, they are smart, and they are super funny. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s stronger than I am and she`s a baby. We are trying to help you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re on your side.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, god. Oh, god. That`s a big one.


HAMMER: Christina, Sarah, Zoe. Its megastar girl power, we have got your first look at the ladies that are out in full force this fall.

And TV`s future goes retro. I`m really looking forward to this. An iconic airline taking flight, Charlie`s angels earn their wings and dinosaurs roam the earth again. You`re watching a special edition of "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT," TV`s secrets and surprises.

Now she was TV`s favorite vampire slayer, now Sarah Michelle Gellar is returning to TV in a brand new show called "Ringer" playing two sisters who have a big secret. Is Bridgette the bad girl and show van the good girl? Only Sarah Michelle Gellar knows.


Sarah Michelle Gellar, CAST MEMBER, THE RINGER: I play Bridgette and Shevon (ph) now. But I also played Brigette (ph) and Shevon (ph) in the flash back. So, basically two sisters, very, very close. Only rely on each other. Something that the audience doesn`t know torn them apart, eight years ago, and through flash backs you`ll start to piece together what happened and why they`re estranged. And we pick up eight years later when they see each other for the first time.





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who`s Jess? You`re talking to tiger boobs.



HAMMER: That`s a bummer, Zooey Deschanel gets dumped by her boyfriend in her new TV show, but I can tell you she is definitely going to bounce back in a big way.

Welcome back to this special edition of "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" as we team up with entertainment weekly to reveal to you the secrets and surprises of the upcoming new TV season. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York and now get ready for TV`s fierce females.

Zooey Deschanel is just one of the big stars coming to a TV near you this fall. A brand-new show with Christina Applegate and a big TV return from Buffy, the vampire slayer`s Sarah Michelle Gellar. We are talking about some serious girl power here.


HAMMER: Zooey Deschanel stars in "New Girl" as the girl who gets dumped and then moves in with the bunch of guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has been a week of this madness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got this. Stop it. Stop it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen, what if you came out with us Sunday, we`ll get you a rebound.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is going out to find her rebound. Who`s that girl? It`s Jessica.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you just make up a theme song for yourself?

HAMMER: Queue the lullaby as Christina Applegate tries to keep it all together as a brand new working mom in "Up All Night".

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s stronger than I am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s a baby. We`re trying to help you.

HAMMER: Lord help this taxi driver who tries to tango with Maria Bellow`s character in the new NBC show "Prime Suspect."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s right. You see? Now put it out. I`m not in the mood. Thank you.

HAMMER: And will Buffy fans will thanking their lucky stars, that Sarah Michelle Gellar is playing twin sisters in the new CW show "Ringer"?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, I was wondering how you`d look after 60 years?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your life is perfect?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Close to it. But no one`s life is perfect.


HAMMER: That`s actually a pretty challenging role for her. But can Sarah Michelle Gellar bring up the magic of Buffy, the vampire`s slayer in her new series called "Ringer"?

Joining me again is the Entertainment Weekly`s senior writer, Jessica Shaw and Melissa Maerz who`s also a senior writer for EW.

Now, we all know that Sarah Michelle Gellar has a cult following as a result to playing Buffy and here she`s playing for the evil sister versus the good sister.

Melissa obviously, it`s a different show but do you think it has any kind of the same Buffy appeal that will have Sarah`s fans tuning in?

MELISSA MAERZ, SENIOR WRITER, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Definitely. Well, Buffy was a big guilty pleasure and to me this best guilty pleasure of all. There`s mobster in it, there`s an evil twin sister in it. The sisters are always telling each other how much skinnier one is than the other and how great they look. And it`s in a world where everyone`s always on a boat or getting a pearl necklace, something like that.

HAMMER: Perfect. That`s sounds cool.

Now Jessica, we were watching that in the scene from up all night came on with the baby`s crying and the diapers changing. And he said, well that was me last night.

SHAW: It`s basically a document try for new parents.

HAMMER: I have to believe working moms everywhere are going to tune in for this.

SHAW: Absolutely. I think working parents will tune in. I mean, the scene was they are pulling the wipes out and changing diapers and they`re like "I`m stronger than you why can`t I change the diaper". Of course working parents will love this.

But I have to say, it`s pretty damned funny even if you don`t have children. And it`s (inaudible), Christina Applegate, written by an "SNL" writer. It`s hilarious.

HAMMER: And Maria Bello`s new show "Prime Suspect", that`s look really good tom me based on a 1990s British series starring Helen Mirren. From what we`ve seen in the promos for the show, her character is dealing with a lot of sexism on the job, Melissa. I have a feeling that working women who are experiencing this sort of thing will be riveted by this as well.

MAERZ: Yes, you`re not going to be seeing her chasing down bad guys in stilettos. She seems like she is a real cop who`s working with a real job and dealing with a bunch of jerks in her office. That`s probably something anybody can relate to, women or men.

HAMMER: I got to tell you, I think this whole season is looking terrific. And there`s much more to talk about. Melissa, Jessica, thank you very much.

I can tell you that the future of TV is looking very retro this season. You`ve got passion and jealousy in the skies.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re on the cover of life magazine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`ll find your husband in a couple of months.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m not looking for a husband.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope not, you`re famous now.


HAMMER: It`s the golden ace of flying as Pan Am takes off again. Speaking of flying, will these angels earn their wings again? It`s a new "Charlie`s Angels" and then we`re going back, way back, when dinosaurs ruled the earth and if human race be saved in "Terra Nova"?

This is a special edition of "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT," TV`s secrets and surprises. Entertainment weekly takes you behind the scenes of a photo shoot with the cast of not one but two brand-new TV shows.

First, TV goes retro, with the ladies of Pan Am Christina Ricci stars on the show, you got to love her if these ladies were back then. They just look so divine, don`t they?

And check this out, this good looking family gets transported back 85 million years in the prehistoric earth on the new show "Terra Nova". I got to say, by the look of the photo shoots with EW, I`m guessing they`ll handle the dinosaurs just fine.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s Charlie, Angel. Time to go to work.


HAMMER: Fantastic. The late Farah Fawcett there. Who didn`t love the original "Charlie`s Angels" series back in the `70s? I loved it. That`s why I`m excited for the new `Charlie`s Angels" coming back to TV this fall.

This is a special edition of "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT," as we reveal to you the secrets and prices of the new TV season that are coming your way.

"Charlie`s Angels" not the only reason to believe that TV is going retro. Along with the angels re-make on ABC, we`ve got Pan Am taking off again. And then we`re going way, way back when dinosaurs ruled the earth with the new FOX show. Stephen Spielberg`s "Terra nova". I got to say, this show also sounds very cool.

But, here`s our "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" flashpoint. Will the new Retro TV Shows e big hits?

Back with me again the assisting managing editor Dalton Ross, and Senior Writer Melissa Maerz.

So, the women who play Charlie`s angels are not household names yet, although Minka Kelley who I love done `Friday Night Live" was dating New York Yankee start Derek Jeter, before they reportedly broke up. Drew Barrymore is the executive producer of this show.

Dalton, please tell me what you think, are audiences going to embrace the new angels?

ROSS: Here`s the problem with the new "Charlies Angels" A.J. is that the original Charlie`s Angels was unique because you didn`t have women stars. It`s a more complace (ph) so the new show has to have really stellar writing and stellar acting. What I have seen so far of the new Charlie`s angels, let`s just say it`s less than heavenly. They got a little work to do.

HAMMER: It has to have some new appeal beyond the just nostalgia factor.

ROSS: Exactly.

HAMMER: Now, on one show I`m looking for to because of nostalgic factor is Pan Am with Christina Ricci, she`s definitely a big star. I think this brings back a lot of the glamour to flying that obviously has been lost over the years. Do you think this is going to be a big hit from what you have seen, Melissa?

MAERZ: Well, I think madmen brought glamour back to TV and made is cool again. So the show has so much glamour. People dressed to the nines to be on this flight and drink champagne and still fire crack in where we are now in our dolorous sweat suite going on through security.

HAMMER: You can`t beat those outfits. I remember those outfits.

MAERZ: I think they were beautiful

HAMMER: All right, let`s talk about "Terra nova." I think this is a really cool looking show. It`s about no ordinary family from the year 2149 they`re transported back 85 million years to prehistoric earth. They join terra nova, that a colony of humans, they`re given a second chance to build a civilization, which I think is a great idea.

Dalton, are people going to give this retro show a chance? Is this going to be a big hit?

ROSS: I think it`s definitely going to get a chance. It`s been so much talk about it. People have been hearing about it for so long, they want to check it out and it`s good. My one question about it is that, can it look at least enormous expectations? Because people are expecting incredible, so well good to very good be good enough for.

HAMMER: Yes. And I think one of the challenges is when you attach to Stephen Spielberg`s name to anything that even heightened expectations.

All right, Dalton, Melissa, thank you so much.

And that is it for this special edition of "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT," TV`s secrets and surprises. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. For more on this fall`s hottest TV shows, grab your copy of entertainment weekly at a newsstand near you. Thanks for watching.