Sheen’s ‘Anger Management’ Declines Sharply in Week Two

Charlie Sheen in "Anger Management" (Photo: FX)

Ratings fell by more than a third for Charlie Sheen’s new FX sitcom “Anger Management” in its second week.

The new episode that aired this past Thursday (July 5) at 9:30 p.m./8:30c (Episode 3 of the just-introduced series) drew 3.37 million total viewers and 1.71 million viewers in the target demo, adults 18-49.

By comparison, the series’ premiere a week earlier at 9 p.m./8c drew 5.47 million total viewers and 2.65 million in the demo, according to FX, which released this latest Nielsen data late on Friday.

The losses break down this way: Total viewers decreased by 38 percent (or 2.1 million viewers not watching “Anger Management” in Week Two who watched in Week One — a significant amount) and the demo viewership fell 35 percent (a loss of 940,000). FX also noted that an episode airing at 9 p.m./8c this past Thursday — a repeat of Episode 2 seen a week earlier — drew 2.2 million total viewers and 1.08 million in the demo.

Watch the premiere episode of Charlie Sheen’s “Anger Management”:
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What to make of these losses? A couple of things:

1) They may, in fact, be an accurate reflection of how viewers feel about “Anger Management” and, in all likelihood, Charlie himself. This is the usual reason why ratings fall — people decide they don’t like a show after sampling it in Week One. And “Anger Management” got so much publicity in advance of its premiere that an extra, perhaps atypical amount of sampling was undertaken by people who didn’t return for Week Two.

2) On the subject of Charlie: Certainly, he worked hard to spearhead the promotion campaign leading up to the premiere. He turned up on the cover of Rolling Stone and on various talk shows in which he talked sheepishly about his famous public meltdown in 2011, and expressed regret for his behavior and the statements he made back then. And yet, while acting contrite, he was also trying to hold on, somewhat, to his “bad boy” image too. It’s not an easy task trying to balance those two images in the court of public opinion. Who knows? Maybe a number of people who saw him on this “Contrition Tour” weren’t buying it.

3) More likely, however, the ratings drop may have had more to do with the way this episode was scheduled: First and foremost, it was July 5 — a Thursday in a week in which a national holiday fell smack in the middle of the week. We suspect many people were otherwise diverted from watching TV this past Thursday night. Plus, the airing of this original episode following a repeat episode strikes us as an odd scheduling move. Usually, this kind of scheduling works the other way around — with the new episode preceding the repeat from last week. We suggest FX try switching ’em up next Thursday.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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