By Lynette Rice
Updated May 11, 2011 at 06:57 PM EDT
Felix Kunze/

This couldn’t have been what Two and a Half Men fans were anticipating but oh, the missed opportunities here! A source close to the CBS comedy confirmed an online report about how Hugh Grant was thisclose to signing a deal to replace Charlie Sheen. A Brit on the beach! Could have been fun, right?

Just how much Grant would have earned remains a mystery, however. The source added that anyone who’s hired to fill the void on Men won’t be earning a huge payday like Sheen, who made around $2 million an episode before he was canned. Something north of $200,000 — the going rate for big stars on first year shows — seems more likely.

The news about Grant means that Warner Bros. TV, which produces the sitcom for CBS, is definitely serious about going on with the comedy despite the high-profile loss of Sheen. There have been various rumors about possible replacements for Sheen — Jerry O’ Connell and Jeremy Piven were some more recent names that were floated — but insiders have quietly dismissed the chatter. And there’s always the possibility that Warner Bros. TV could end up plopping down far more than $200k-plus if it means scoring an A-lister like Grant.

Whatever the plan is, time is of the essence: CBS announces its fall lineup to advertisers in New York next Wednesday and it would be nice if the network were able to announce that its Monday tentpole comedy will return in September. CBS already has a deal in place with Warner Bros. for another season of Men. More news as it comes available…