While it will never get the kind of audiences "Two and a Half Men" did on CBS, Charlie Sheen is getting an excellent start on basic cable as "Anger Management" has already become the most-watched scripted comedy primetime series in cable history.
The series premiere on FX welcomed just under 5.5 million total viewers, with 2.7 million of them between the ages of 18 and 49 -- a key advertising demographic, according to a news release.
Even more interesting, the second episode of "Anger Management," which aired immediately after the premiere, actually grew the total audience to 5.7 million viewers, with just under 2.9 million in the key advertising demo.
This is excellent news for Sheen, who spent a good part of 2011 in what many described as a very public meltdown following his firing from "Men."
The series, based on the 2003 film with Jack Nicholson, was developed by "The Drew Carey Show" co-creator Bruce Helford. It also stars Selma Blair, Shawnee Smith and Michael Arden.
This almost assures "Anger Management" will get a pickup beyond the initial 10 episodes, but that means something totally different compared to the networks. A pickup here would guarantee 90 more episodes would be produced, ensuring at least 100 syndication-friendly episodes of the series. It's a similar approach used by its syndicator, Debmar-Mercury, that has already been used for shows like the two Tyler Perry series on TBS -- "Meet the Browns" and "House of Payne."
Returning shows "Wilfred" and "Louie" also did well, gaining from their previous year's audiences. The Season 2 premiere of "Wilfred," which stars Elijah Wood and Jason Gann, was up 71 percent in total viewers compared to the year before, while "Louie," starring Louis C.K., was up 55 percent.
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