Two and a Half Men Premiere Wins TV Ratings War

Two and a Half Men Premiere Wins TV Ratings War

It's a TV ratings battle for the ages!

In one corner, the premiere of the wildly popular Dancing with the Stars, featuring Chaz Bono.

And in the other corner, the debut of Two and a Half Men without former star Charlie Sheen.

The story goes that Charlie Harper was run over by a subway train in Paris, and the episode opened with his funeral.

The show's explanation of Sheen's demise was less-than-dignified: "Charlie didn't suffer. His body just exploded like a balloon full of meat," said the character Rose.

And if that wasn't enough, in the scene where Ashton Kutcher makes his first appearance, Charlie Harper's ashes were spilled all over the room.

"I'm sorry I made you spill him," said Kutcher's character, Walden Schmidt.

"That's ok, I'll DustBust him later," responded Cryer's character, Alan Harper.
Steve Battaglia, Business Editor at TV Guide, was impressed by Kutcher's debut.

"Ashton did really well, he was likeable, he was very nice to look at," Battaglia said.

Sheen tuned in to his old show and apparently liked what he saw. He tweeted a photo of himself watching the premiere and wrote:

"Surrounded by friends and watching the premier of Two and a Half Men. Odd...But cool..! So far a lot of laughs!! Nice…"

When the dust cleared and the numbers were in, Two and a Half Men had drawn an eye-popping 27.7 million viewers, the highest in the eight-year history of the show!

"Obviously there was a lot of interest in seeing how they would handle the transition from Charlie sheen to Ashton Kutcher," said Battaglia.

Dancing with the Stars drew an impressive 18.5 million viewers, but that was down 10 percent from last season's premiere. The new CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls, which followed Two and a Half Men, drew more than 19 million viewers. The Playboy Club on NBC had a disappointing five million viewers for its series debut.

And Sheen was roasted within an inch of his life in a special that aired on Comedy Central later Monday night.

"I'm eighty years old. You're what, forty-seven?" asked William Shatner.

"Forty-six," said Sheen.

"How come we look like we went to high school together?" joked Shatner.

But Sheen will get the last laugh. The LA Times reports he's close to a deal in which Warner Brothers will pay him $25 million to buy out his Two and a Half Men contract, and Sheen is expected to eventually rake in another $100 million from reruns.