Charlie Sheen’s new sitcom Anger Management has landed at FX with an initial order for 10 episodes for a summer 2012 launch. If successful, that will be followed by a 90-episode order by FX as well as broadcast syndication launch by distributor Debmar-Mercury in fall 2014. After a marathon of pitches to broadcast and cable networks earlier this month followed by a short window of intense negotiations, the direct-to-series project has found a home at the cable network that already carries reruns of Sheen’s previous series, Two And A Half Men, to great ratings success. The cable network also owns the TV rights to the 2003 Jack Nicholson-Adam Sandler movie Anger Management — about a mild-mannered man (Sandler) ordered to attend group anger-management sessions led by a volatile therapist (Nicholson) – on which the series is loosely based. Sheen plays a version of Nicholson’s character on the show, produced by Lionsgate TV and distributed by sibling Debmar-Mercury. Joe Roth, who produced the movie, is producing the series with Sheen, who retains a significant ownership stake, and The Drew Carey Show creator Bruce Helford, who serves as writer/showrunner. Production is slated to begin in early 2012. “We think that Bruce Helford, Joe Roth and Charlie Sheen have come up with a wonderful, hilarious vehicle for Charlie’s acting talents — and a character we are very much looking forward to seeing him play,” said FX president John Landgraf. “Two And A Half Men has been an outstanding component of FX’s schedule for the past 14 months, and we have every confidence that Anger Management will soon be as well.”
Lionsgate topper Jon Feltheimer was instrumental in putting together the project, which will be done under Debmar-Mercury’s 10-90 production model that the company pioneered with several TBS series, including Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne & Meet The Browns and Roth/Ice Cube’s Are We There Yet? The template includes a trial 10-episode run that, if ratings guarantees are met, triggers a 90-episode pickup. (Because of its corporate ties to Two And A Half Men producer Warner Bros TV, which was sued by Sheen over his firing from the show, TBS was out of play for Anger Management.) A unique issue with Anger Management that Debmar-Mercury didn’t have with its previous series under the model is the insurability of star Sheen, who has a history of addiction problems, though he performed his duties on CBS’ Two And A Half Men for eight seasons.
Sheen attended the Anger Management pitch meetings held both on the East and West coasts. Among those who took the pitch were broadcast networks NBC, Fox and ABC and cable networks FX, USA Network, A&E, Comedy Central and TV Land and streaming company Netflix.