Is this what "winning" looks like?
Charlie Sheen's new FX comedy "Anger Management" debuted to huge numbers last night, scoring the biggest scripted comedy debut in cable history. It pulled in 5.47 million total viewers, with 2.65 million of those in the coveted adults 18-49 demographic; that's the biggest series premiere in FX history. And even better news for Sheen and FX: The audience grew as the hour went on, with an audience of 5.74 million viewers tuning in for "Anger's" second half-hour.
Now those numbers are a far cry from Sheen's former show, CBS's "Two and a Half Men," which drew an average of 15 million viewers this past season -- its first with Ashton Kutcher replacing Sheen. But viewers abandoned "Men" as Kutcher's debut season wore on, with only 11.33 million tuning in for May's season finale. And to be fair, "Men" airs on a major network during the prime TV viewing season, while "Anger" debuted on a relatively tiny cable network in the middle of summer.
These ratings seem certain to trigger a renewal order from FX, which, in an unusual arrangement, will lead to another 90 episodes of "Anger" being produced. And showrunner Bruce Helford says his writing staff will soon get back to work dreaming up new stories for Sheen and company for Season 2.
"Anger's" big numbers also lifted the rest of FX's comedy lineup, with "Wilfred" (up 71%) and "Louie" (up 55%) posting enormous increases over last season's averages. And Russell Brand's new FX talk show "Brand X With Russell Brand" even pulled a decent crowd at 11 PM with 1.1 million total viewers.