'Anger Management' premiere sets a ratings record for FX [Updated]
Charlie Sheen scored big numbers -- not "Two and a Half Men"-sized ones, but very strong for cable -- with the premiere of his new series "Anger Management" on FX Thursday (June 28).
The series premiere drew 5.47 million viewers, a record for a prime-time comedy series premiere on cable (excluding kids shows). The second episode improved on its lead-in, averaging a little better than 5.7 million viewers. The premiere also scored 2.65 million viewers in the 18-49 demographic, also a record for a cable comedy premiere, while episode 2 drew 2.9 million 18-49 viewers.
"Anger Management" is also FX's most-watched series premiere ever.
FX also got solid numbers from its returning shows "Wilfred" and "Louie" Thursday, both of which were about even with their debuts last year. "Wilfred" delivered 2.53 million viewers and 1.5 million adults 18-49 (compared to 2.55 million and 1.6 million for its series debut in 2011), while "Louie" averaged 1.43 million total viewers and 911,000 adults 18-49 (down slightly from its Season 2 opening of 1.6 million viewers and 1 million in the demo).
At 11 o'clock, the premiere of "BrandX with Russell Brand" got off to a decent start. The half-hour show featuring Brand's musings on current events and whatever else pops into his mind, scored just under 1.1 million viewers, a sizable upgrade on FX's time-period average, and more than 60 percent of the audience fell in the 18-49 demo.
"Anger Management" has to hit an unspecified ratings target for its initial 10-episode run to trigger a 90-episode pickup that will make it syndication-ready. If it stays in the neighborhood of its premiere numbers, FX would likely be all too happy to commit.