Charlie Sheen had an I-told-you-so moment when he ripped CBS for “Two and a Half Men’s” ratings slide, but his subtle dig at replacement Ashton Kutcher seems premature at best, if not off base.
The show’s viewership has been declining since Kutcher’s debut on this season’s premiere. It drew an outsized 28 million viewers.
It slipped another 10 percent in audience Monday night to 14.85 million total viewers, according to the latest Nielsen figures.
That prompted Sheen to say he was “extremely disappointed” with the new season and unsurprised by the ratings drop.
“Well you know, people aren’t stupid; Not all of them.” he told gossip site TMZ.
Sheen, of course, was infamously fired from the series where he starred for eight seasons and made it the No. 1 sit-com on television.
After going on a weeks-long tirade against CBS, Warner Bros., and co-creator Chuck Lorre, Sheen was apologetic at this year’s Emmys and wished his former colleagues “nothing but the best.”
But he recently settled a lawsuit against CBS and the show’s creators that reportedly resulted in huge payout.
Now he’s apparently free once gain to be critical of his old boss, although he steered clear of slamming Kutcher, who is dealing with his own sex scandal.
Kutcher plays recently jilted Internet millionaire Walden Schmidt on the show.
“He’s doing the best he can,” Sheen told TMZ. “I don’t think the role is cursed, but I’m extremely disappointed with how they’re handling what I left behind.”
But how bad is the show performing?
In what may be a surprise to Charlie, no worse that his last season on the show.
What’s more, even with the ratings fall off, not to be expected after the premiere, the show is still the No. 1 sit-com.
And, more importantly, it’s still tops among the 18-to-49 demographic, which is highly coveted by advertisers.
The show averaged a 5.2 rating among adults age 18 to 49, the top spot in that demo, while ABC averaged a 3.0 rating, with Men’s time slot rival “Dancing With the Stars.”
Last year with Sheen, it averaged 4.0% rating with that audience.
The show’s average of 14.2 million viewers is comparable to Sheen’s average last season of about 15 million viewers, E! Online pointed out.
“Two and a Half Men” is still above last year’s average total viewership per episode, 12.7 million. It’s also above last year’s ratings among 18 to 49-year-olds, the audience that TV sells to advertisers.
That hardly seems like grounds for panic or disappointment. Other networks would be happy with such “dips,” according to Entertainment Weekly.