FX greenlights mammoth renewal after solid trial run

Charlie Sheen will be hanging around at FX for a while: As expected, sitcom “Anger Management” has officially been given its 90-episode back order by the cabler.

FX topper John Landgraf had said at the cabler’s recent Television Critics Assn. panel that the Lionsgate TV/Debmar-Mercury show was on target to receive the pickup. Creator and veteran showrunner Bruce Helford has already been in the writer’s room for months working on the additional installments of the Lionsgate-produced laffer.

The order was predicated on the show hitting a certain ratings threshold for eight of the first 10 episodes. Realizing the first two episodes would get a big number based on the curiosity factor of Sheen returning to primetime, FX insisted that only episodes three through 10 would be part of the ratings calculation.Although FX never released the threshold number that “Anger Management” passed, the show has exceeded many expectations and averaged 4.5 million viewers overall and 2.5 million in the 18-49 demo.

For its June 28 premiere, “Anger Management” garnered a whopping 5.4 million viewers — setting a record as the most-watched scripted sitcom in cable history.

“We set a very high ratings bar that included some additional hurdles and the series met and exceed those metrics,” said FX Networks exec VP Chuck Saftler. “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 whopping 90-episode backorder is in keeping with the innovative business model Debmar-Mercury has forged in recent years for cable sitcoms including Tyler Perry’s TBS laffers, “House of Payne,” “Meet the Browns” and “For Better of Worse.” The mega pickup allows the distrib to quickly sell the off-net rights to the series to local stations and it allows Lionsgate to expedite production and better amortize its costs.

“Anger Management,” loosely based on the 2003 feature of the same name, was Sheen’s comeback vehicle following his public meltdown and firing from Warner Bros./CBS hit sitcom “Two and a Half Men.” Sheen co-stars with Selma Blair, Daniela Bobadilla and Barry Corbin. Helford and Sheen exec produce with Mark Burg, Joe Roth, Dave Caplan and Vince Totino.

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