UPDATED: Martin Sheen has closed a deal to play son Charlie Sheen‘s father on Sheen’s FX comedy series Anger Management for the show’s 90-episode back order. FX has not pulled the trigger on the 90-episode pickup yet and doesn’t plan to make a decision until all 10 episodes of its initial order have aired, but Landgraf admitted that that was very likely. Through 6 episodes, the series has exceeded the threshold required for renewal. (All episodes after the first two are counted toward the ratings average.) “Up until now, it has given us every indication that it will earn that 90‑episode season order … the odds are overwhelming”, Landgraf said. Anger Management ranks as the No. 1 scripted comedy in cable, averaging 13.8 million total viewers and 7.1 million adults 18-49 per week.
Work on additional episodes of Anger Management is already well underway. FX has authorized writers on the show to go back to work. According to creator/showrunner Bruce Helford, they have already broken out 18 episodes and have four completed scripts. By the time FX makes its pickup decision, there will be 8-10 scripts ready to shoot, Helford estimates. Production on the show will go in blocks: 11 weeks for writing then 11 weeks for shooting and so forth, with occasional two-week breaks as the series plans to largely stay in continuous production in order to produce 100 episodes in two years. The accelerated schedule doesn’t allow for extensive rehearsals and runthroughs like regular networks sitcoms do, but Helford, a sitcom veteran who has worked on a slew of conventional sitcoms, likes that. “I think this will become the process for the industry,” he said, noting the millions of dollars “wasted” by the traditional sitcom production method. “This is a better way to do it.” That way a show can begin airing in broadcast syndication much sooner. Distributor Debmar-Mercury, sibling of Anger Management producer Lionsgate TV, is expected sell the show to stations immediately after the back order is made.
Later in his session Landgraf was asked how he feels creatively about Anger Management, which has earned mixed reviews from critics. “I am happy creatively with the show,” he said. “As with any comedy, I think it’s got more growth in it creatively, I think it’s still developing, but generally speaking, I’m real happy.” He noted that the critics who didn’t like the show compared it to other FX shows such as Louie, Wilfred and Archer. “With due respect, I think its fair comparisons really are to Two and a Half Men and 2 Broke Girls and Mike & Molly and multicamera shows, and in that regard, I think it’s developing really nicely; I think it will stand very fairly and very squarely in with four‑camera sitcoms.” Landgraf thinks the introduction of Martin Sheen will help — “it will give an extra dimension to the show and it will also make it a multi‑generational family show.”
Martin Sheen previously guest starred on his son’s two previous sitcoms, Spin City and Two And A Half Men. “We figured he should be in this too,” Charlie Sheen said. He took the idea to Helford. A couple of weeks later, there was a script with a dad character in it. “We loved it and shot it,” Charlie Sheen said. “I think it is the best episode we did. He brings a whole new energy.” Martin Sheen appears in the final episode of Anger Management‘s initial 10-episode order before he returns for the back-90.
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