Jan. 11, 2012 at 3:48 PM ET
A clean-cut Ashton Kutcher said Wednesday that he's interested in continuing with "Two and a Half Men" beyond this season -- and CBS wants him, too.
Kutcher's addition to television's most popular comedy following star Charlie Sheen's implosion was a grand experiment that has worked out better than CBS or the producers could have dreamed.
The show is up 20 percent in viewers over Sheen's final season, the Nielsen ratings company said, and Kutcher has also brought in a younger crowd.
"I've had a blast," said Kutcher, who plays the heartbroken Walden Schmidt. "Since I stopped doing 'That '70s Show' I've always wanted to go back and do television."
Kutcher appeared at a news conference without the long hair and beard he has worn this season. It was cut as part of the plot in an episode of "Two and a Half Men" that airs Monday, he said.
"I'm sure there will be people now that I've cut my hair and shaved my beard that want me to have long hair and a beard," Kutcher said. "And there were people that when I had a beard and long hair they wanted me to be shaved and have a haircut.
Us Weekly also reports that Kutcher, who split from wife Demi Moore after six years of marriage, fidgeted with his wedding band throughout the talk.
Series creator Chuck Lorre said he gave thought to ending the series after Sheen left last season and couldn't imagine it continuing. But CBS and his co-creator, Lee Aronsohn, nudged him to continue.
"Lee said, 'Why not try? If we fail, no one would be physically harmed,'" Lorre said. "It seemed like such a heartbreaking way to end, and we didn't want it to, so we said let's keep the light on."
Lorre, who was the target of sharp barbs from Sheen last spring after he was fired, said he wished his former star well.
"I really do," he said. "I'm glad he's sober and I think it's terrific."
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