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Tuning in to TV: Sheen’s ‘Anger Management’ gets 90 more episodes

- - Wednesday, August 29, 2012

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.

This will be an important three weeks for "SNL," which debuts a cast that will be missing major departing stars Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg and perhaps Jason Sudeikis. It was just announced that Abby Elliot also will not be returning to the show.

ABC renews 'Wipeout' for sixth season

"Wipeout" is coming back for another season.

The ABC reality series has been picked up for a sixth round with Jill Wagner returning as co-host. Season six is slated to air during the 2012-13 television season and will include the show's landmark 100th episode. Vanessa Minnillo had replaced Miss Wagner as co-host for the fifth season.

"I'm thrilled that we will hit a major milestone in our sixth season, our 100th episode. We'll be celebrating all season long with brand new over-the-top courses," said Matt Kunitz, creator and executive producer.

"Wipeout" follows 24 players who compete in an obstacle course designed to showcase the best body flips, biggest splashes and wipeouts as they vie for the $50,000 grand prize.

Adkins, Chenoweth to host American Country Awards

Country star Trace Adkins and entertainer Kristin Chenoweth are returning as hosts of the American Country Awards, now in its third year.

The show will air in December on Fox from Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, according to the Associated Press.

Mr. Adkins calls Miss Chenoweth a "firecracker comedienne" and said he is looking forward to cutting loose with her again. The pair hosted the show together last year.

Miss Chenoweth said she plans to "pull out all the stops to make sure everyone has a good time."

Fans will be able to vote for the winners. Jason Aldean came out on top last year, taking home six awards, including artist and album of the year. Nominees, performers and a show date will be announced soon.

Compiled from Web and wire reports