Lionsgate: 'Anger Management' Poised for 90-Episode Order From FX

Anger Management Denise Richards Charlie Sheen - H 2012
Prashant Gupta/FX

Anger Management Denise Richards Charlie Sheen - H 2012

The mini-studio anticipates supplying the U.S. channel with about 40 episodes a year, with production on the Charlie Sheen comedy expected to restart in September.

TORONTO -- The Charlie Sheen-fronted sitcom Anger Management is poised for a larger order from FX, Lionsgate said Friday.

Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer told analysts during a conference call that he anticipated the trigger for a 90-episode order to come from the cable network soon.

“You can assume a significantly larger amount of episodes to air over a period of time,” he said.

Kevin Beggs, president of the Lionsgate Television Group, said the plan was to provide about 40 episodes a year to FX, with the U.S. channel to air them as it chooses.

“Our writers are working in anticipation that it goes forward and starts shooting in September, and we should be able to furnish new episodes … in January 2013,” he said.

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Lionsgate and Revolution Studios need to meet an undisclosed average audience during Anger Management’s rookie season for FX to renew the series.

Ahead of the FX reorder, international distributor Debmar-Mercury has been in discussions about a syndication deal.

“When that [90-episode order] is in place, they will make the appropriate station deals,” Beggs added.

Lionsgate also said international sales of the Sheen comedy are strong and that foreign broadcasters are likely to provide $900,000 to $1 million per episode.

The Anger Management news followed the mini-studio saying Thursday that it swung to a first-quarter loss on higher movie marketing expenses, even as Feltheimer told investors to look forward to profits from The Hunger Games down the line, starting in the second quarter.

“More than two-thirds of the profitability of the first Hunger Games lies ahead of us, and that translates into a typical back-loaded year where our profitability will grow every quarter,” he told analysts.

Next month, Lionsgate is going into production on sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, with a higher budget than the first installment.

Patrick Wachsberger, head of Lionsgate’s motion picture group, told analysts that presales of Catching Fire were generating “substantially higher” minimum guarantees in foreign markets, with the potential for overages.

Wachsberger added The Hunger Games grossed around $25 million on release in China, a far bigger contribution than any previous Lionsgate release in that market.