Charlie Sheen will make 90 additional episodes of “Anger Management,” FX network announced Wednesday — a week after telecasting the final episodes of its initial 10-episode order.
FX’s deal with Lionsgate, which produced the Jack Nicholson flick of same name and is the production house behind the series, stipulated that if the first batch of 10 episodes hit an agreed-upon ratings level, it would trigger an automatic additional 90-episode order from the basic cable network.
That so-called 10-90 model enables the show’s producer, Debmar-Mercury, to make the needed 100 episodes for syndication at a much faster clip than the traditional comedy series model. As FX exec vp Chuck Saftler noted in Wednesday’s announcement, the first 10 episodes were produced in a very tight window and Sheen, the other cast members, creator Bruce Helford and the crew now have “the Herculean task of producing 90 episodes over the next two years.”
“Anger Management” is the highest rated new comedy series on cable this calendar year, averaging 4.5 million viewers — 2.5 million of them in the 18-49 year old age bracket, which is the ad sales currency of FX.
Saftler said that in addition to the “very high ratings bar” set by the network in its deal with the production companies, FX also set “some additional hurdles for ‘Anger Management’ to earn its back-90 order” which the show met and exceeded. He did not elaborate.
“Now we have 100 episodes of a top-tier sitcom with an A-list star the caliber of Charlie Sheen to sell into off-network syndication starting in September 2014,” Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein advertised in Wednesday’s announcement.
The show’s premiere episode, which was unveiled on June 28, was the most watched primetime scripted comedy series premiere in cable history. An average of 5.6 million viewers tuned in to see Sheen’s return to series television, after his spectacular jettisoning from his starring role on the hit CBS comedy “Two and a Half Men,” which came after Sheen took time off for rehab, and wiled away the time publicly savaging the show’s creator, Chuck Lorre.
But last month, FX programming chief John Landgraf told TV critics the first two episodes, which ran back to back that night, were excluded from the formula governing the pickup agreement. Even so, he said, appearing at Summer TV Press Tour 2012, a pickup of the so-called “back-90 was “very likely,” adding that Martin Sheen would join the cast. Charlie Sheen’s father will play his dad on the show, in a recurring role.