The critics may have been lukewarm on Charlie Sheen’s post-“Two and a Half Men” comeback, “Anger Management,” but viewers were certainly curious to see the show for themselves. The premiere of the new FX series posted the best ratings of all-time for a scripted comedy airing on basic cable. What’s more: it beat every single other show of the night, broadcast and cable alike, in the all-important 18-49 demographic.
The 9 p.m. episode of “Anger Management,” a loose spin-off of the Adam Sandler/Jack Nicholson film from 2003, garnered a 2.1 rating with 18-49s and 5.47 million total viewers. The 9:30 p.m. episode improved on those numbers, with a 2.3 rating and 5.74 million total viewers.
The tremendous ratings really helped the two shows airing afterwards, as well. The Season 2 premiere of “Wilfred” and the Season 3 premiere of “Louie” were up 71 percent and 55 percent, respectively, on their prior season premieres. Both shows are more cerebral and critically-acclaimed comedies than “Anger Management,” so even those who can’t stand Sheen should be able to celebrate his success in this instance.
Whether most viewers tuned into “Anger Management” simply to gawk at a Hollywood crazy or because they were actually interested in the show remains to be seen. But even if the show only retains half of its premiere audience by season’s end, it will still be doing very well, by cable standards. Unless Sheen has another breakdown, don’t expect “Anger Management” to be retired from the airwaves anytime soon.