The Fox Television Stations have acquired Debmar-Mercury's Anger Management, starring Charlie Sheen, for a fall 2014 premiere, Fox and Debmar said Wednesday.
"Typical wisdom says off-cable shows aren't right for general syndication, but that's way too narrow-minded for today's reality," said Frank Cicha, FTS' senior vice president of programming in a statement. "When a program produces these ratings, regardless of the platform, you have to take it seriously. We did, and we expect Anger Management to be a key piece of our sitcom dominance for years to come."
Fox has acquired the show for nine of its markets: WNYW/WWOR New York, KTTV/KCOP Los Angeles, WFLD/WPWR Chicago, KDFW/KDFI Dallas, WTTG/WDCA Washington, D.C., KRIV/KTXH Houston, KSAZ/KUTP Phoenix, KMSP/WFTC Minneapolis and WOFL/WRBW Orlando.
Fox picked up Anger Management on a cash-plus- barter basis, meaning it will pay a cash license fee, as well as allowing the syndicator national advertising time in the show. The show will air in double-runs in access and late-fringe every day of the week. Fox purchased the show for four years -- or throughout its network run -- with an option for three more years.
Last summer, the show aired in a 10-episode test on FX, launching as the most-watched primetime scripted comedy premiere in cable history. Over those episodes, Anger Management averaged 4.53 million viewers and 2.5 million persons 18 to 49, the demo advertisers covet most. As per the producers' agreement with FX, that ratings performance guaranteed an order of 90 more episodes and sent the show into broadcast syndication.
Anger Management adds to Fox's growing stable of off-net comedies, which includes syndication's top-rated sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, and will see Twentieth's Modern Family added to the line-up next fall.
"We are thrilled to have Fox as our core station group for â€˜Anger Management' as we begin rolling it out nationally," said Debmar-Mercury copresidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein in a statement. "Fox is acquiring today's most valuable sitcoms, and a broad-based, male-driven sitcom like Anger Management will play perfectly with both Big Bang Theory and Modern Family on Fox stations in major markets. Anger Management achieved record-breaking ratings on FX and we believe it will perform extremely well in off-network syndication."
The show's producer, Lionsgate Television, began production on the 90-episode order on Sept. 24, with Emmy- and Golden Globe Award-winning actor Martin Sheen, and Sheen's real-life dad, joining the cast in a recurring role, playing "Martin Goodson," Charlie's father. Bruce Helford serves as executive producer and showrunner. Mark Burg, Joe Roth, Vince Totino and Dave Caplan are executive producers. Anger Management is produced by Lionsgate Television and distributed by Debmar-Mercury.