FX and Lionsgate brass had already indicated that a 90-episode renewal for Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management appears a foregone conclusion, but the comedy ended its original 10-episode run on a lower note. The season finale last night drew 1.976 million viewers and 994,000 adults 18-49. Those were the second lowest numbers for the series behind only its first airing against the London Olympics On August 2.

On July 28, FX president John Landgraf said at TCA that “the odds are overwhelming” for a pickup of the series, which had exceeded the threshold required for renewal in its first six episodes. (All episodes after the first two are counted towards the ratings average.) But then the Summer Olympics came along, and Anger Management took a major hit the week after Landgraf’s statement. It bounced back in the following two airings (one featured Sheen’s father who is set to recur on the back 90), but never to the pre-Olympics levels, and slid again last night. FX has a little more time until the final numbers for Anger Management‘s entire run come in to pull the trigger on a renewal, and while not very alarming (Anger Management still averages healthy 4.7 million viewers in Live+7), last night’s ratings are surprising and ought to give FX brass food for thought. (See tracker of Anger Management‘s Live+same day ratings for its 10-episode run below):

Work on additional episodes of Anger Management is already well underway. FX has authorized writers on the show to go back to work. By the time the network makes its pickup decision, there will be 8-10 scripts ready to shoot. Distributor Debmar-Mercury, sibling of Anger Management producer Lionsgate TV, is looking to sell the show to stations immediately after the back order is made.

6/28  – 5,472/2,648

6/28 – 5,741/2,887

7/5 – 3,370/1,709

7/12 – 2,421/1,253

7/19 – 2,647/1,418

7/26 – 2,407/1,294

8/2 – 1,578/850

8/9 – 2,100/1,153

8/16 – 2,052/1,182

8/23 – 1,976/994,000