While Ashton Kutcher reportedly pulls in $750,000 an episode for his gig on “Two and Half Men,” back when the model-turned-actor landed his first TV role — playing Kelso on “That ‘70s Show” — he had so much doubt about his acting abilities that, throughout the entire first season of the series, he was convinced he was going to be fired.
Kutcher was living in New York City and working as a model when he landed the role on the Fox series, which debuted in 1998. Having no acting experience, “I was so nervous when I was [hired for] ‘That ‘70s Show,’” Kutcher remembered during the Sunday night’s “Fox’s 25th Anniversary Special ” broadcast, which reunited him with castmates Mila Kunis, Laura Prepon and Wilmer Valderrama. “I was doing everything I could to look awesome. [But] I thought I was going to get fired for the first three, four episodes. I was convinced I was going to get fired. It was ‘faking it till you make it’ full blown for the entire first season.”
Further complicating things, Kutcher, who was born in 1978, said that many of the ‘70s cultural references in the pilot script initially went over his head. “I was reading for a bunch of different pilots at the time and the really weird thing was — because [the series] wasn’t called ‘That ‘70s Show’ at that time, it was ‘Teenage Wasteland’ — honestly half the references I didn’t understand. The only one I totally got, that I thought was totally hilarious, was smoking weed in the basement. They talked about a car that runs on water.’”
In 2006 the show ended after eight seasons. By then Kutcher had launched a movie career, started producing his own shows (including “Punk’d”) and married his movie star girlfriend Demi Moore, with whom he split last fall. Last year, he joined the cast of "Two and a Half Men," filling the void left by Charlie Sheen and earning a reported paycheck of $750,000 per episode. But starring on "That '70s Show" remains one of his most memorable Hollywood experiences. “You could tell when you watched the show that we were having fun," he said. "So that just invited everybody else to come and have fun with us. To me, that’s what really made it magical.”
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During Sunday's special, which was hosted by Ryan Seacrest and also reunited the casts of “Married with Children” and some of the stars of “Beverly Hills, 90210,” Kutcher was seated next to Kunis to whom he was recently linked. They subsequently denied that they that they’re more than friends.