FX drama “Sons of Anarchy” delivered monster — and series-high — ratings as it returned Tuesday night to kick off its seventh and final season, including the highest young-adult rating of any entertainment series telecast since the spring.
While it’s FX’s policy to hold off releasing ratings highlights to the press until after at least three days’ worth of DVR playback can be included, the “live plus same-day” numbers are still released by Nielsen. And according to those estimates, “Sons” averaged a 3.2 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 6.2 million viewers overall — especially impressive considering that its long 110-minute run time meant it didn’t end until 11:50 p.m.
In both categories, Tuesday’s “Sons” return breaks the Kurt Sutter-created show’s previous record set with its sixth-season premiere a year ago (3.1 demo rating, 5.87 million), an episode that became the network’s No. 1-rated single telecast in history in “live plus 7” data (full week’s worth of DVR playback).
“Sons” was the No. 1 program on television Tuesday night in 18-49, with its 3.2 well ahead of runner-up “Big Brother” on CBS (2.3). In fact, it was No. 1 in every 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 breakdown — men and women (tying with “Big Brother” in women 25-54). In total viewers for the night, only reality vets “America’s Got Talent” and “Big Brother” drew a higher average.
No ad-supported scripted telecast has delivered a higher 18-49 rating than last night’s “Sons of Anarchy” since the season finale of ABC’s “Modern Family” in late May (3.7). And no ad-supported drama has done better since the “Scandal” finale on ABC in April (3.4). (The season finale of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” did a 3.8 same-night rating in June.)
FX also scored late Tuesday with its “Anarchy Afterword” special, which averaged a 1.4 demo rating and 2.64 million viewers overall from 11:50 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.