That’s only the second time “Men” has pulled off that feat since NBC’s “The Voice” returned for a second season on Monday nights — after the singing-competition’s whopping second-season, post-Super Bowl debut.
The return of “Men” this fall is key for CBS, which should move the network forward as it launches a four-comedy block on Thursdays next season.
Monday, 11.3 million viewers tuned in to watch Bates’s character tell his hallucinating hospitalized brother: “I’m in hell . . . in this old broad’s body . . . eternal damnation.” That’s a slightly bigger crowd than watched the last original episode, in mid-April, though it can’t match the nearly 30 million people who tuned in to the show’s season debut last September — to watch Harper get killed off and see his Malibu home purchased by an Internet-billionaire manchild (Ashton Kutcher).
The show’s season-to-date average of 15.1 million viewers is still up 12 percent over a year ago, when the show unexpectedly fell back into reruns around that time, owing to the increasingly tabloid-worthy behavior of star Sheen. Warner Bros. TV, which produced the show for CBS, sacked Sheen shortly thereafter.
Now, Kutcher and co-stars Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones are all wrapping up new contract negotiations for another season of “Men,” confirmed a source who has knowledge of the situation.
Kutcher will continue to make about $750,000 per episode, though it’s unclear whether Warner Bros. also is giving him a slice of the show’s back end; Cryer’s salary is just shy of that, and Jones will get $300,000 per, a source noted. Those price tags, as first reported by Deadline.com, also do not include the signing bonuses all three men will receive.
And as a rising tide lifts all boats, a ratings-improved “Men” has helped “How I Met Your Mother” to its best season ever. In between the two comedies, CBS created a fertile hammock for the launch of “2 Broke Girls” — the No. 1-ranked new series this season among 18-to-49-year-olds.
(“2 Broke Girls” is also this season’s second-most-watched new comedy, among viewers of all ages — behind only CBS’s “Rob!” Yes, that’s right, “Rob!” is the season’s most-watched new comedy. It’s because “Rob!” was on the air for such a brief time that it never aired any reruns, but still — it’s enough to make a TV Columnist turn her face to the wall and give up the struggle.)
Getting back to CBS and its Monday comedies: “Mike & Molly” also is up from its ratings of a year ago.
Meanwhile, “The Big Bang Theory,” which moved from Mondays to Thursdays, has given CBS a comedy toehold on the night and is sitting there at 8 p.m., just begging to be joined by three more strong comedies — among them being, it could actually mean, “Rob!”