CBS and Warner Bros. Television announced on Friday that Ashton Kutcher signed on the dotted line to replace Charlie Sheen's hedonistic jingle writer Charlie Harper on the hit sitcom "Two And A Half Men." But does the former “That 70’s Show” star really have what it takes to make the series as successful as Sheen did?
"Ashton was a wise casting choice, they managed to keep a still-successful and major money-making show alive by casting a well-known talent who knows his way around a sitcom stage," TV Guide's LA Bureau Chief, Michael Schneider, told FOX411's Pop Tarts column.
But according to entertainment reporter and pop culture expert Scott Huver, the 33-year-old probably doesn't have the prowess to ensure CBS sitcom will continue to be a ratings success.
"I don't think the addition of Kutcher guarantees any longevity for the series – people will check out his first few episodes and see if it clicks for them from there," Huver said.
On the note of longevity, how much longer are the experts anticipating "Two And A Half Men" will even stay afloat?
"It's reasonable to expect maybe two more seasons, which is what Sheen's replacement of Michael J. Fox earned 'Spin City.' It's rare that such a pivotal cast change results in a very significantly extended run," Huver explained. "Such cast shifts are usually awkward and uncomfortable, both for the shows themselves and especially for long-time viewers."
Others were also pessimistic.
"Honestly, I don't think 'Men' has much time left. A major casting change like this can only signal the beginning of the end," said Tim Hayne of the television blog Wetpaint.com, while Schneider added that the sitcom "is already very late into its run, and generally shows like this don't last much longer than it already has."
There's also the question of whether Kutcher, who leads a seemingly blissfully married life with Demi Moore, will simply have the same “sheen” as Sheen. After all, there’s no doubt the reel Charlie and the real Charlie had an uncanny likeness when it came to women and wild ways.
“Charlie brought a lot of comedy to the show playing off his ‘bad boy’ reputation – and the thought of what potential replacement Hugh Grant (who was reportedly also in negotiations) might have done with his own reputation is really intriguing,” Huver added. “While Kutcher is more well-behaved, he does have certain aspects of his persona that could be mined for laughs – like creating an older-woman-chasing character for him.”
And according to television writer/acting coach Mirren Lee, the onus is on the producers and marketing team.
“Having some naughty boy PR would help – maybe seed some stories about problems with Demi,” she said. “And if she made a guest star role in the beginning, that would really work. And they could have story lines with Ashton competing with the kid's girlfriends now that he's growing up, for instance.”
Nonetheless, Sheen has wasted no time adding his opinion that his ex-sitcom will tank without his “winning” presence.
"Enjoy the show America. Enjoy seeing a 2.0 in the demo every Monday, WB,” he told TMZ.
Let the games begin!