4.9 million marks most for any episode

The season four debut of “Sons of Anarchy” got off to a roaring start Tuesday.

The premiere was the most-watched episode in the history of the motorcyle club drama as 4.9 million total viewers tuned in to the 90-minute episode. That was a 20% hike from the season three debut in total viewers. In the 18-49 demo, a healthy 3.2 million were watching.

The previous high in total viewers for a single episode was the season-two finale, which drew an audience of 4.3 million. When live-plus-7 numbers are added, the cabler said the “Sons” telecast will be most-viewed episode of any show in the history of the network.

Series, starring Ron Perlman and Charlie Hunnam, was created by Kurt Sutter. He serves as exec producer with John Linson, Art Linson and Paris Barclay. The series is produced by Fox 21 and FX Prods.

“Last night’s ratings are indicative of the passion the audience has for this wonderful show,” said FX topper John Landgraf. “Kurt has crafted one of the most compelling series on television, with the raw, blow-your-hair-back energy of a wide open Harley and the subtle complexity of a great book.”

Meanwhile, the season premiere of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” – the first episode since the August suicide of one of its participants – averaged 2.2 million viewers Monday (including 1.5 million in the 18-49 demo).

This was up nicely from its year-ago series preem (1.5 million, 1 million adults 18-49), topping the recent starts for the franchise’s editions in New York City, Orange County and Miami but below last fall’s Atlanta opener (2.4 million, 1.7 million adults 18-49).

Rick Kissell contributed to this report.

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