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'Sons of Anarchy' Sets Ratings Record for FX

The Season 4 premiere becomes the cable network’s most watched program in history when factoring in Live+7 numbers.

Sons of Anarchy
Prashant Gupta/FX
"Sons of Anarchy"

America loves a good get out of jail story.

The Season 4 premiere of drama Sons of Anarchy, in which the SAMCRO guys were released from jail, became FX’s most-watched program in the cable network’s 17-year history.

According to Nielsen -- when factoring in Live+7 numbers -- the first-run telecast of the Sept. 6 season premiere drew 6.5 million total viewers and 4.3 million in the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic, collecting 2.5 million in men 18-49. The numbers rank as basic cable’s top drama series telecast across the two adult demos of the year. (TNT's Falling Skies ranks as basic cable's top performer of the year in the adults 25-54 demographic and its Rizzoli & Isles stands as the year's top spot in total viewers with its Aug. 29 installment attracting 9.3 million.)

VIDEO: 'Sons of Anarchy': Cast and Creator Tease Season 4

TheSoA Season 4 premiere’s 6.5 million total viewers topped the June 2003 FX original movie 44 Minutes, which previously stood as the cabler’s most-watched offering (6.1 million). A pair of NEXTEL cup races rank third and fourth, while the third-season finale of FX original drama Nip/Tuck, currently ranks as the network’s fifth-most-watched installment.

REVIEW: ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Season 4

The episode posted a 25 percent increase in total viewers and a 20 percent uptick in adults 18-49 when compared with the series’ third season premiere.

In addition, the series set a record for FX in adults 25-54 and men 25-54 as well as total households at 4.6 million.

First-run and encore telecasts of the episode combine to deliver 9.5 million total viewers, 6.3 million in adults 18-49 and 3.7 million in men 18-49.

VIDEO: 'Sons of Anarchy': Maggie Siff Talks About Playing Tara as a Mother

The episode, written by series creator Kurt Sutter, now stands as FX’s top offering in four metrics: most watched (total viewers), adults 18-49, men 18-49 and adults 25-54.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit