WASHINGTON, June 3, 2013 —With Charlie Sheen’s history of an affection for drugs and prostitutes, as well as a series of charges for abusing women, one wonders if being a pimp isn’t his true calling. On his FX series “Anger Management,” Sheen’s role as an anger management therapist is as ridiculously improbable as casting Lindsay Lohan as a public relations consultant.
That said, “Anger Management” initially got off to a great start. It broke a ratings record with 5.74 million viewers on its series debut night and ranks as the most-watched sitcom premiere in cable history. Plus, in its first full season the show averaged a very respectable 3 million viewers per episode.
But season two has been tanking big time, averaging just 1.25 million viewers. The most recent episode had barely over one million viewers. Houston: we have a problem.
After its debut, the FX economic game plan for the show was to crank out enough episodes to enter the syndication market and cash in on the back end. But this plan was formulated shortly after “Anger Management’s” exceptional first ten episodes. No doubt the plan will still be a productive business model in the long run, regardless of the show’s critics. But what about the here and now?
Since FX is a sister company to FOX, and since FX has signed on for 90 episodes of “Anger Management” whether it’s well received or not, something had to be done to rescue the show from its ratings free fall. So the head honchos at FOX have decided to air four episodes of the show in the Monday night prime time 9:30 p.m. slot usually occupied by “The Mindy Project” reruns.
As George W. Bush might ask, “What’s the strategery here?” Simple. By running four episodes as prime time summer filler, FOX is attempting to up the show’s ratings before the syndication deals are negotiated.
Face it. FOX is in it for the long run whether they like it or not. Ordering 90 episodes is a huge gamble on an actor who has taken bad boy behavior to a whole new level. It’s not that we don’t understand Sheen’s meltdown; we’ve seen Hollywood destroy more than one promising career with its relentlessly hedonistic, lowlife-enabling atmosphere.
What the falling ratings for “Anger Management” may reflect—something FOX might not have foreseen in its eagerness to capitalize on scandal—is that there’s less tolerance these days for Sheen’s lack of atonement for his many questionable “episodes.” We keep waiting for Charlie to grow up and take some responsibility for his actions, but he’s still pointing fingers at everyone but himself. Maybe viewers have finally begun to tire of his utter disdain for everyone but Charlie Sheen.
Just as in “Two and a Half Men,” Sheen’s character in “Anger Management” is a narcissistic and misogynistic man in the midst of an apparently never-ending midlife crisis. As in real life, his character objectifies women, and his habit of bedding much younger women has reached the creepy stage.
It’s painful to watch Charlie being Charlie whether in real life or on his latest sitcom, probably because there’s little difference between the two. Add a few drug and domestic abuse charges to Sheen’s character on “Anger Management” and the line becomes even more blurred. It’s all too painful.
But the most unsettling part of the whole Charlie Sheen story? He will make a pocket full of money on “Anger Management” as his reward for playing the consummate jerk he impersonates on the show and actually is in real life. This may be good news for the drug dealers and hookers in Hollywood that Charlie supports in high style. But for the TV audience, his act is wearing thin.
All Times are EDT:
ABC: The Bachelorette: New) Desiree and Brooks share a one-on-one date that begins at a bridal shop; Andy Grammer performs; the bachelors star in a music video for Soulja Boy; Bryden and Desiree take a road trip; Desiree sends three men home.
CBS: How I Met Your Mother: (Repeat) Marshall recommends an old law-school buddy for a position at the firm, but the job interview doesn’t quite work out, and Marshall needs to square things with the boss. Meanwhile, Robin helps Barney get back into the swing of things on the gentlemen’s-club circuit.
FOX: Raising Hope: (Repeat) Part 1 of 2. A social worker investigating a claim at the Chance house becomes suspicious of the family’s treatment of Maw Maw and wonders if they’re fit to care for her. Meanwhile, Sabrina and Jimmy’s relationship is tested when she wants him to get rid of a favorite T-shirt.
NBC: The Voice: (New) The remaining six artists sing for their survival as your votes decide who moves ahead and who heads home.
CW: Oh Sit!: (New) Roshon Fegan performs.
CBS: Rules of Engagement: (Repeat) Liz wants to have a baby, so she turns to Russell for help. Meanwhile, Timmy takes Jeff’s advice on how to attract a coworker, but it all backfires.
FOX: The Goodwin Games: (New) After Chloe spots Jimmy with a mysterious man, she begins to fret that her brother is returning to his criminal ways, while Henry leads his siblings to believe he’s a workaholic. Later, a shocked Chloe gets the news via phone that her L.A. roommate is kicking her out.
CBS: 2 Broke Girls: (Repeat) Max and Caroline take office temp jobs. While Caroline tries to climb the corporate ladder, Max deals with a boss who makes inappropriate advances.
FOX: New Girl: (Repeat) ess and Cece begin to worry about their biological clocks when they learn that a friend is pregnant. Meanwhile, Schmidt wants to please Emma; Nick and Winston look for inspiration for Nick’s zombie-theme novel at the zoo.
CW: The Carrie Diaries: (Repeat) In the series premiere of this prequel to “Sex and the City,” 16-year-old Carrie Bradshaw enters her junior year of high school as she struggles to move on after her mother’s death. However, things begin to look up for her after she starts an internship in Manhattan.
CBS: Mike and Molly: (Repeat) Molly believes she’s off the hook for Thanksgiving dinner when Mike takes ill, but her relief is short-lived when Vince invites his brother to the house for a home-cooked holiday feast.
FOX: Anger Management: (New) Charlie meets with an unorthodox therapist. Later, Patrick tricks Ed into thinking he won the lottery.
ABC: Mistresses: (New) As Savannah and her husband are faced with fertility issues, Savannah finds herself attracted to a flirtatious colleague; recent widow April becomes convinced that her husband is actually still alive; Karen deals with the ramifications of an affair.
CBS: Hawaii Five-0: (Repeat) Max and a cute bank teller he’s attracted to are put in harm’s way during a botched bank robbery. The investigation reveals that the thieves had unexpected motives for attempting the heist. Meanwhile, Danny protects a model from a stalker.
NBC: Revolution: (New) The struggle to turn the power on culminates in the explosive season finale! Leslie Hope and Kim Raver guest star.
New episodes of:
The Real Housewives of Orange County at 8 and 9 p.m. on BRAVO
Brain Games at 9 p.m. on NGC
Burger Land at 9 p.m. on Travel Channel
Defiance at 9 p.m. on Syfy
Sins & Secrets at 9 p.m. on ID
The Glades at 9 p.m. on A&E
American Pickers at 9 p.m. on History Channel
Love It or List It at 9 p.m. on HGTV
Cake Boss at 9 and 9:30 p.m. on TLC
Longmire at 10 p.m. on A&E
Fast ‘N Loud: Revved Up at 10 p.m. on DSC
Whitey Bulger: The Making of a Monster at 10 p.m. on ID
Push Girls at 10 p.m. on SUND
Newlyweds: The First Year at 10 p.m. on BRAVO
Warehouse 13 at 10 p.m. on Syfy
Little People, Big World: Separation Anxiety at 10 p.m. on TLC
House Hunters International at 10:30 p.m. on HGTV
For movie lovers:
Mrs. Doubtfire on CMT
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle on ENC
Turner & Hooch on FLIX
Knight and Day on FX
Busses Roar on TCM
The Ninth Gate on TMC
National Lampoon’s European Vacation on AMC
Magic Mike on HBO
Love Wrecked on HBO
Battleship on MOMAX
The Rock on STARZ
The Very Thought of You at 10:15 p.m. on TCM
Valley Girl at 9:30 p.m. on ENC
Stakeout at 9:40 p.m. on FLIX
Killer Joe at 10 p.m. on CINEMAX
Teeth at 10 p.m. on IFC
Prometheus at 10:30 p.m. on HBO
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