Published April 17, 2009
Ashton Kutcher has beaten CNN.
The 31-year-old actor, best known for "That 70s Show" and for marrying actress Demi Moore, 15 years his senior, became the first Twitter user — http://twitter.com/aplusk — to garner more than one million "followers" late Thursday evening.
For the past few days, he'd been locked in a race with CNN's breaking news feed — http://twitter.com/cnnbrk — to become the first "Twitter millionaire."
But just before midnight Thursday — or the wee hours of Friday morning on the East Coast — Kutcher's account edged over the line as he, Moore and some friends broadcast a Web stream of themselves watching the Twitter numbers.
Kutcher, Moore and friends erupted in cheers as his account topped the mark, and he popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate.
Kutcher earlier said he'd be donating 10,000 mosquito nets to the medical charity Malaria No More if he won. Just after his victory, he flashed a check made out to the charity for $100,000.
The video-game publisher Electronic Arts says the millionth follower, whoever he or she is, will become a character in the next version of "The Sims," as well as a copy of every game it publishes in 2009.
Kutcher had also promised to "ding-dong-ditch" CNN founder Ted Turner's house if he won — in other words, ring the doorbell and then run away.
There was a bit of controversy earlier in the week when it turned out CNN didn't even own its breaking-news Twitter feed until recently.
It had been run for more than two years by James Cox, a British tech expert living in San Francisco, but he handed it over to the cable news channel on Tuesday or Wednesday.
CNN on Tuesday declared it would match Kutcher's mosquito-net donation, win or lose. And CNN grizzled eminence Larry King posted a funny video mocking Kutcher's attempt to beat the network, asking "Do you know how big we are?"
According to third-party Web site Twitterholic, which is not quite up to date, CNN and Kutcher are the top two Twitter feeds, with singer Britney Spears following close behind.
Rounding out the top 10 are actress/comedian Ellen DeGeneres' talk show, Twitter itself, President Barack Obama, singer John Mayer, comic Jimmy Fallon's talk show, basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal and the New York Times.