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Tuning in to TV: Sheen’s ‘Anger Management’ gets 90 more episodes
Question of the Day
FX is staying in business with Charlie Sheen.
After a 10-episode summer run, Mr. Sheen’s comeback comedy, “Anger Management,” has been granted a 90-episode order. Production will resume Sept. 24, with new episodes premiering in January. The show’s writing staff has been back at work since early July.
As part of the network’s pact with Lionsgate, the show had to hit a certain undisclosed ratings threshold over the course of its run to move forward with more episodes. During its first nine weeks on the air, it averaged 4.53 million total viewers and 2.5 million in the coveted 18-49 demographic.
FX Networks General Manager John Landgraf told reporters gathered for the Television Critics Association’s semiannual press tour in late July that the odds were “overwhelmingly” in the series’ favor, noting that he was pleased creatively and commercially with the effort. He urged critics, who have been less enthusiastic, to consider assessing the series more like comparable multicamera entries including CBS’ “Mike & Molly” and Mr. Sheen’s previous show, “Two and a Half Men,” than typical FX fare, such as “Louie” and “Wilfred.”
“We set a very high ratings bar that included some additional hurdles for ‘Anger Management’ to earn its back-90 order and the series met and exceeded those metrics,” said FX Networks Executive Vice President Chuck Saftler at the time of the Wednesday renewal.
The half-hour show, which co-stars Selma Blair and Shawnee Smith, proved a boon for both the network and studio before it even premiered. While FX brass has kept mum on details, sources say “Anger” has sold at the highest rates FX has ever seen for a first-year series. The studio, which with subsidiary Debmar-Mercury will begin peddling “Anger” to stations for a fall 2014 syndication debut, has sold the series in Canada, Latin America, Germany, Scandinavia and Australia, among other territories, for roughly $600,000 an episode, more than what established sitcom hits “Seinfeld” and “Two and a Half Men” commanded out of the gate.
As the series embarks on its back 90, Martin Sheen will reprise his role as Charlie’s father on the show. The elder Mr. Sheen, who has turned up in one episode already, is expected to appear in some 20 of the 90 episodes, sources say, though executives involved insist that it won’t become “the Charlie and Martin Show.” As Mr. Landgraf sees it, the addition will make the series more of a “multigenerational family comedy,” much as “Two and a Half Men” once was with Mr. Sheen at the helm.
Seth MacFarlane to host ‘SNL’ season premiere
Seth MacFarlane will serve as “Saturday Night Live’s” first guest host of the 2012-13 season.
American audiences will get a rare glimpse at a live performance by TV’s adult animation king and the man behind this summer’s foul-mouthed computer animated “Ted,” as he kicks off the 38th season of the late-night comedy institution on Sept. 15. Yet it shouldn’t surprise if there are a few more cartoon segments than normal; after all, he is promoting the new seasons of his three Fox hits, “Family Guy,” “American Dad” and “The Cleveland Show,” as well as the DVD/Blu-ray release of “Ted.”
While Mr. MacFarlane also could serve as a musical guest — he has an album of classic standards — the show instead opted to sign up Frank Ocean, one of the summer’s breakout artists.
The Sept. 22 “SNL” will see the ultrabusy Joseph Gordon-Levitt return to New York, his college town and the setting of his most recent flick, “Premium Rush.” And while there may be some allusions to that bike messenger film, he’ll likely be working to promote his upcoming sci-fi jaunt, “Looper,” which comes out the following week.
British folk rockers Mumford & Sons will serve as the musical act.
The third week will feature Daniel Craig, who was most recently seen hanging out with the Queen of England and her corgis (and then jumping out of a helicopter) in a video that aired during the Olympic opening ceremony. His third James Bond film, “Skyfall,” will be released Nov. 9.
The musical guest that evening will be fellow Brits, Muse.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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