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'Anger Management' Premiere Draws 5.5 Million

Thursday night's 9 p.m. premiere of Charlie Sheen comeback
vehicle Anger Management on FX drew
5.47 million total viewers, ranking it as the network's most-watched series
premiere ever.

The pilot attracted 2.65 million in the adults 18-49 demo, according to Nielsen, which FX says makes it the most-watched scripted primetime comedy series debut in cable history in the demo, excluding children's programming.

Anger grew in its
second episode at 9:30 p.m., increasing to 5.74 million total viewers and 2.89
million adults 18-49.

In an interview with B&Cearlier this month,
FX chief John Landgraf said he expected the series to offer the net's biggest
opening ever.

"I think it will. If you ask me today, do I think Anger
will do the highest premiere rating an FX comedy has ever done
in adults 18-49? I would say yeah, it will," he said. "Ultimately, what I care
about most is, how good is episode 15 and how well does episode 15 rate?"

Wilfred's premiere in June 2011 was previously FX's top-rated comedy debut, drawing 2.33 million adults 18-49, according to Nielsen live plus same-day numbers, with American Horror Story drawing its highest demo numbers for a drama with 3.14 million adults 18-49 in October 2011.

At 11 p.m., FX's first late-night series Brand X with Russell Brand drew 1.1 million total viewers and 687,000 adults 18-49, improving the time period for the network by 32% and 38%, respectively.

The return of comedies Wilfred and Louie benefited heavily from the large Anger lead-in, with Wilfred up 71% in total viewers to 2.53 million and Louie up 55% to 1.43 million total viewers, compared to their prior season averages. Both series had their second highest-rated episodes ever.