It turns out America’s morbid fascination with love for Charlie Sheen has not diminished. After a very public meltdown led to his dismissal from CBS juggernaut Two and a Half Men last year, the troubled star took his act to FX last night. The first two episodes of his new sitcom Anger Management debuted to the best ratings for a scripted comedy in cable history (not including kids’ shows). Episode one, at 9 pm, topped all-time records in both overall viewers (5.47 million) and the key 18-49 demographic (2.65 million). Episode two, at 9:30, bested it by attracting 5.74 mil total and 2.89 mil in the 18-49 demo. As a point of reference, more typical FX comedy Wilfred later premiered to 2.53 mil total and 1.2 mil in 18-49.
Anger Management sees Sheen stepping into the role of ex-ball player, current anger management coach Charlie Goodson, who gets up to hijinks involving his ex-wife (Shawnee Smith), therapist (Selma Blair), teenaged daughter (Daniela Bobadilla) and various clients (Noureen DeWulf, Barry Corbin). Hit the jump for more.
Per THR, if the ratings continue to hit a certain mark over the coming weeks, an order for 90 additional episodes from distributor Debmar-Mercury will kick in, keeping Sheen on the air for…ever, basically. In the wake of the two-part debut, the show will settle into its regular time slot, Thursdays at 9:30, beginning next week.
Critics have not been quite as enthusiastic about the more-or-less traditional canned-laughter sitcom, though some seem to think it has potential. It’s certainly nowhere near as edgy as you’d expect from FX (whose motto reads “There Is No Box”), especially when compared to the network’s other comedies like Wilfred, Louie and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. But the promise of 5.5 million viewers is enough to make even the most avant garde executive realize that, “Oh, silly me. There’s the box right over there.”