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CBS Boss Reveals Post-Sheen Game Plan, Says "We Are So Excited to Have Ashton"

Ashton Kutcher, Charlie Sheen Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images; Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

CBS nearly lost megahit comedy Two and a Half Men this year, thanks to living catastrophe Charlie Sheen, but Eye chief Nina Tassler just told reporters that despite the drama the network always counted on the continuation of the series, one way or another. (Still, CBS überboss Les Moonves noted about the recent Sheen-anigans, "I've been chased from every restaurant in Los Angeles in the last two months, avoiding questions.")

So why is CBS shaking up their Tuesday and Thursday schedules? What got canceled? And how exactly will Chuck Lorre kill off Charlie Harper so that he can be replaced by the new Ashton Kutcher character? Here's what we can tell you:

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WHAT'S RETURNING

CBS bosses say they never even really planned a Two and a Half Men-free schedule, even before an alternative star (Hugh Grant or Kutcher) was secured. Tassler old us, "We are so excited to have Ashton." When asked what the plan was for writing off (or killing off) Sheen's character of Charlie Harper, Tassler declined to comment "out of respect for Chuck [Lorre] and the show....He's cooked up something fabulous...Everybody will see in the fall."

Tassler also defended the CSI franchise against a reporter who questioned if time had passed those three series by, noting that the original show runners of all three shows were still involved and that all three shows were winning their time slots. That said, veteran CSI will leave its old high-profile Thursday time slot in the fall to move to the 10 p.m. hour on Wednesdays. And prestige drama The Good Wife is relocating to Sunday nights after 60 Minutes and The Amazing Race. (Dang, it's just mean to put Alicia Florrick, woman of substance, up against the ladies of Wisteria Lane. Harsh, CBS. Harsh.)

Widely ignored comedy Rules of Engagement, god bless it, is coming back for a sixth season, as will frosh series Blue BloodsMike & Molly and Hawaii Five-0. New episodes of Engagement will act as a beachhead for CBS on Saturday nights, leading into an evening of repeats and newsmagazines. (Hey, any plan that keeps Megan Pryce and Patrick Warburton employed is fine by us.)

WHAT'S NEW

CBS picked up two comedies and three dramas, as well as having done the development for Sarah Michelle Gellar's The Ringer, which will air on CBS' half-sister network, the CW. (Tassler had kind words for SMG, taunting her "huge fanbase" and noting that people started emailing her telling her to pick up SMG's show just hours after they first bought the script.)

  • Two Broke Girls from Michael Patrick King was a "hot, sought-after piece of material" starring Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs.
  • How to Be a Gentleman is about an etiquette columnist who takes an uncouth personal trainer under his wing.
  • Poppy Montgomery returns to CBS with Unforgettable, a crime drama about a detective with a memory of every minute of every day of her life.
  • Person of Interest is a "crime thriller about a presumed dead former-CIA agent who teams up with a mysterious billionaire to prevent violent crimes by using their own brand of vigilante justice." Jim Caviezel, Taraji P. Henson and Lost genius Michael Emerson (yay!) star; J.J. Abrams produces.
  • A Gifted Man is about a surgeon whose dead wife starts teaching him the real meaning of life from her redoubt in the great beyond. WWK faves Julie Benz and Margo Martindale costar.

FALL 2011 SCHEDULE

Monday, 8 p.m.: How I Met Your Mother
Monday, 8:30 p.m.: 2 Broke Girls
Monday, 9 p.m.: Two and a Half Men
Monday, 9:30 p.m.: Mike & Molly
Monday, 10 p.m.: Hawaii Five-0 
Tuesday, 8 p.m.: NCIS
Tuesday, 9 p.m.: NCIS: Los Angeles
Tuesday, 10 p.m.: Unforgettable
Wednesday, 8 p.m.: Survivor: South Pacific
Wednesday, 9 p.m.: Criminal Minds
Wednesday, 10 p.m.: CSI
Thursday, 8 p.m.: The Big Bang Theory
Thursday, 8:30 p.m.: How To Be a Gentleman
Thursday, 9 p.m.: Person of Interest
Thursday, 10 p.m.: The Mentalist
Friday, 8 p.m.: A Gifted Man
Friday, 9 p.m.: CSI: NY
Friday, 10 p.m.: Blue Bloods
Saturday, 8 p.m.: Rules of Engagement
Sunday, 7 p.m.: 60 Minutes
Sunday, 8 p.m.: The Amazing Race
Sunday, 9 p.m.: The Good Wife
Sunday, 10 p.m.: CSI: Miami

WHAT'S DEAD

Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, The Defenders,$#*! My Dad Says have all been canceled.

See anything you like? What's your pitch for the Ashton Kutcher character? Hit the comments!

PHOTOS: 2011 Fall TV Preview

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