At the height of its popularity, Two and a Half Men was one of the most-watched shows on TV. Its simple premise and relatable humor appealed to a mass audience.
The show hit something of a snag well into its run, however, that caused a major shakeup of the show’s cast. Multiple big-name actors were discussed for a potential role on the hit sitcom.
One of the actors was Hugh Grant. Here’s the story of how Grant turned down a $1 million per episode offer to star on the show.
What was the show ‘Two and a Half Men’ about?
Two and a Half Men starred Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer as two brothers named Charlie and Alan Harper respectively. Charlie was a playboy womanizer with a beautiful house on the beach.
Alan was an uptight, nerdy divorced father. Alan and his son, Jake (played by Angus T. Jones), moved in with Charlie. The show chronicled the clash in lifestyles between the three. Charlie continually bedded beautiful women while Alan struggled to date successfully.
Meanwhile, both men helped raise Alan’s young son. While Charlie is shown to be rather cavalier in his personal dealings with women, he’s often portrayed as a great uncle to his nephew.
Also joining the crew is Charlie’s housekeeper, Berta (played by Conchata Ferrell).
According to IMDb, the show ran for a whopping 262 episodes from 2003-2015. While Sheen, Cryer, Jones, and Ferrell all had amazing comedic chemistry, they weren’t all on the show for its entire run. The show suffered a huge blow that most sitcoms wouldn’t recover from.
Why Charlie Sheen left ‘Two and a Half Men’
Sheen left the show in 2011. According to the Washington Post, the show nearly went into hiatus in January of that year so Sheen could go to rehab. In February, Sheen called in to the show of controversial host Alex Jones to besmirch Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre.
From there, the show shut down production, fired the star, and Sheen went on something of a media tour chronicling his meltdown. He even told Good Morning America the following:
“I am on a drug. It’s called ‘Charlie Sheen. It’s not available because if you try it once, you will die. Your face will melt off, and your children will weep over your exploded body.”
Sheen’s outbursts led to a turning point for the show and a big decision for Lorre and his crew: do you shut down or continue to keep going without your star? Lorre decided that the show must go on, and attempted to replace their lead actor.
How Hugh Grant nearly replaced Charlie Sheen on ‘Two and a Half Men’
Former That 70s Show star Ashton Kutcher eventually replaced Sheen, but not before some other high profile candidates emerged. According to Screen Rant, one of the other actors approached about the role was Hugh Grant.
Grant claimed that he was offered $1 million per episode to step into Sheen’s shoes. That’s a lot of money, but Grant’s decision not to accept the deal wasn’t based on financial reasons but rather creative ones. The series hadn’t yet produced the scripts for his new episodes, and Grant didn’t want to commit without seeing what the show’s writers had in mind for the future of the series.
Shockingly enough, Grant’s pay would have been a downgrade from what Sheen made — he reportedly received $1.8 million per show.
Grant wouldn’t have been assuming Sheen’s role, but likely slipping into a new one much like Kutcher did. It certainly would have changed the show’s dynamic.
As it turned out, the show would run for a few more seasons following Sheen’s departure, ending its run in 2015. Grant has starred in more than a few films since that time, so it’s fair to say everyone came away from this a winner.
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