By Kate Ward
Updated May 13, 2011 at 05:55 PM EDT

You can’t say CBS isn’t creative: Just days after reports claimed that Hugh Grant was close to sealing a deal to replace Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men before backing out, the network confirmed that Ashton Kutcher is set to return to his That ’70s Show sitcom roots by starring in the hit CBS sitcom. (Kutcher himself encouraged chatter around the news, tweeting Thursday “what’s the square root of 6.25?” For those of you who are math-adverse, the answer is 2.5.)

At this point, Sheen’s violent torpedo has lost its explosive allure. But still, there’s no denying that Kutcher has some pretty big cargo shorts to fill on Men. We’re looking at two completely different people here: Charlie Sheen began his career in movies before moving to TV; Kutcher’s career was the other way around. Sheen battled drug use for years; Kutcher boasts a squeaky-clean image (despite his penchant for stoner comedy). Sheen has the reputation for being difficult; Kutcher is so easy going, he’s even close pals with his wife’s ex-husband. And, most relevant of all, Sheen’s style of comedy is sinister; Kutcher’s is as jaunty as, well, an Ashton Kutcher comedy.

It’s smart casting, really. Replacing Sheen with a similar actor would beg comparisons — not to mention remind viewers of the warlock Sheen has become. But with Mr. Dude, Where’s My Car? taking the reigns, the “revamped and reenergized” show could have a versatile future ahead of it. Not only does the demographic potentially shift younger, but Kutcher could also prove to be a breath of fresh air for the long-running sitcom’s mortal enemy: Staleness. (Providing the adorable actor doesn’t somehow infect the show with Cousin Oliver syndrome.)

That’s if, of course, the writers choose to cast Kutcher as a character different enough from Charlie Harper. As curious as I am about Kutcher’s ability to play an alcoholic womanizer, I just can’t imagine him pulling it off as well as Sheen did. And as much as I’d enjoy watching Kelso 2.0 take over the CBS sitcom, That ’70s Show is just so 1990s. Instead, I hope the show takes the opportunity to mold a completely new classic character around Kutcher. Perhaps he could play a ladies’ man — who, let’s face it, will inevitably be goofy and fun-loving — who is forced to contemplate the meaning of life after pal Charlie Harper… dies? moves away? loses his marbles and goes on a warlock tour?, and leaves him to look after his Malibu bachelor pad.

There’s another question surrounding this news: Was it smart for Kutcher to join Two and a Half Men? The dude’s still got a (middling) movie career, and he’s taking a gamble bigger than anything he bet in What Happens In Vegas. It’s a bold career move worthy of respect — but is it a smart one? I’ll leave that one up to you, PopWatchers. What do you think: Should Kutcher have signed on to replace Sheen on Two and a Half Men? Vote in our poll below!

Follow Kate on Twitter @KateWardEW

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