According to The Hollywood Reporter, Kutcher and co-producer Jason Goldberg of Katalyst Prods. released a statement saying they wanted to show to go out on top.
"We have had an incredible time doing the show and have decided to stick with the old adage of 'leave 'em wanting more,"' the 25-year-old actor said in the statement.
The news, however, has stunned MTV, which had ordered a third season of Punk'd to begin in March. "This was something that came out of the blue," an MTV spokeswoman told The Reporter. At this point, it's unclear whether the teen-oriented cable network had a commitment from its star to do a third season or if Kutcher is backing out of an agreement. The network is unlikely to continue Punk'd without his involvement.
Sources within MTV suggested to The Reporter that Kutcher pulled the plug because Punk'd was becoming a victim of its own success, especially since the exposure the series received was making it more difficult to fool its celebrity subjects.
Regardless, both sides still declared their intent to work together on future programming projects, the trade paper reports, as part of a development deal Kutcher has with the network.
"Ashton will always be a member of our family, and he won't be gone from MTV for long," Lois Curren, executive VP of series, music and movie development at MTV, said in a statement. "We have a number of projects in development, and we're looking forward to his next big MTV hit."
This is a déjà vu for MTV, which found itself in a similar situation in 2001 when Johnny Knoxville, star of the network's then-reigning hit series Jackass, suddenly declared the series over after two seasons. Knoxville later signed a new deal with MTV that paved the way for a hit theatrical version of Jackass, the trade paper reports.
It has not yet been determined what will replace Punk'd in MTV's powerhouse "Sunday Night Stew" programming block which includes Viva la Bam and Wildboyz.