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After a 10-episode summer run, Sheen’s comeback comedy, Anger Management, has been granted a 90-episode order. Production will resume Sept. 24, with new episodes premiering in January. The show’s writing staff has been back at work since early July.
As part of the net’s pact with Lionsgate, the Sheen vehicle had to hit a certain undisclosed ratings threshold over the course of its run to move forward with 90 more episodes. During its first nine weeks on the air, the comedy delivered 4.53 million total viewers and 2.5 million in the coveted 18-49 demo. The final weeks took a substantial hit, likely impacted by the Olympics.
FX Networks GM John Landgraf told reporters gathered for the Television Critics Association’s semi-annual press tour in late July that the odds were “overwhelmingly” in the series’ favor, noting that he was pleased creatively and commercially with the effort. He urged critics, who have been less enthusiastic, to consider assessing the series more like comparable multicamera entries (Mike & Molly, Two and a Half Men) than typical FX fare (Louie, Wilfred).
“We set a very high ratings bar that included some additional hurdles for Anger Management to earn its back-90 order, and the series met and exceed those metrics,” said FX Networks executive vp Chuck Saftler at the time of the Wednesday renewal. “[Showrunner] Bruce Helford has created a sitcom that works extremely well in our pre-10 p.m. programming lineup. Charlie Sheen and the entire cast did an amazing job in the first 10 episodes, which were produced in a very tight window. I have no doubt that the producers and cast will be able to pull off the Herculean task of producing 90 episodes over the next two years.”
The half-hour show, which co-stars Selma Blair and Shawnee Smith, proved a boon for both the network and studio before it even premiered. While FX brass have kept mum on details, sources say Anger has sold at the highest CPM rates FX has seen for a first-year series. The studio, which with subsidiary Debmar-Mercury will begin peddling Anger to stations for a fall 2014 syndication debut, has sold the series in Canada, Latin America, Germany, Scandinavia and Australia, among other territories, for roughly $600,000 an episode, more than what established sitcom hits Seinfeld and Sheen’s own Two and a Half Men commanded out of the gate.
As the series embarks on its back 90, Martin Sheen will reprise his role as Charlie’s father on the show. The elder Sheen, who has turned up in one episode already, is expected to appear in some 20 of the 90 episodes, says sources, though execs involved insist that it won’t become “the Charlie and Martin Show.” As Landgraf sees it, the addition will make the series more of a “multigenerational family comedy,” much as Two and a Half Men once was with Sheen at the helm. (He was fired from the CBS sitcom in March 2011.)
Management, the brainchild of Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer, hails from distributors Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein, co-presidents of Debmar-Mercury and the masterminds of the 10-90 model employed first with Tyler Perry’s TBS efforts; Lionsgate Television; Revolution’s Joe Roth; Sheen manager Mark Burg‘s production company, Evolution Management; and Robert Maron.
Email: Lacey.Rose@THR.com; Twitter: @LaceyVRose
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