/// Angusgate: Much Ado About Nothing

November 28, 2012  |  Media Week

For those of us quietly hoping that Two and a Half Men co-star Angus T. Jones would embark on a Tiger Blood/Bitchin’ Rock Star From Mars media junket following his recent outburst about the show, it looks like the 19-year-old actor is going the more traditional route. A day after Jones characterized 2.5 Men as “filth” and urged fans to “please stop watching it,” the young actor walked it back, issuing a statement in which he expressed his gratitude for his 10-year stint on the CBS comedy. “Without qualification, I am grateful to and have the highest regard and respect for all of the wonderful people on Two and a Half Men ,” Jones said, adding that the show’s co-creator Chuck Lorre , Warner Bros. TV studio boss Peter Roth and CBS were all “responsible for what has been one of the most significant experiences” in his life. Jones, who had said that Men ’s juvenile humor conflicted with his Christianity—the show’s stock in trade is jokes about masturbation, drug use and the less exhalted bodily functions—went on to apologize for his apparent disrespect toward his colleagues. Although Jones’ original video testimonial included the revelation that he no longer wants to be on the show, he added that he remains under contract through the end of the season. Thus far, neither the studio nor the network has indicated that they would invalidate Jones’ deal, which is reportedly worth between $300,000 and $350,000 per episode. Whether Jones stays or goes is immaterial, as his character has already begun being slowly phased out. He’s already expected to miss at least two upcoming episodes, as his titular half-man has joined the Army. After a steep decline in ratings in the 2010-11 season (the last with embattled actor Charlie Sheen in the starring role), Men got a shot in the arm with the addition of Ashton Kutcher and the comic resolution of Sheen’s story line. Per Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, the show was the second highest-rated scripted series on television last year, averaging 12.7 million viewers and a 4.2 in the adults 18-49 demo. After moving from its Monday night perch to Thursdays at 8:30 p.m., where it leads out of mega-hit The Big Bang Theory , Men ’s ratings have eroded somewhat. While the show is up slightly in total deliveries, averaging 12.9 million viewers through the first eight episodes, its 3.8 rating marks a 10 percent decline in the demo. Perhaps more significantly, Men is not retaining nearly enough of its generous lead-in. Season-to-date, Big Bang is averaging a whopping 15.9 million viewers and a 5.0 in the demo, which means that 3 million viewers are churning away when Men ’s opening credits begin to roll. Worse still, nearly one quarter (24 percent) of the demo is going elsewhere. While none of this is exactly being met with high-fives among the CBS ad sales crew, it’s worth noting that Men is surpassing its ratings guarantees. Advertising rates have been steady as well.

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Angusgate: Much Ado About Nothing


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