LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Charlie Sheen may have lost a man and a half, but the bad boy actor has rebounded from last year's television debacle with a record-setting audience for his new TV comedy.
More than 5.4 million U.S. viewers watched the debut episode of "Anger Management" on FX on Thursday night according to audience ratings data, making it was the most-watched, scripted comedy series debut in primetime cable TV history.
The comedy, in which Sheen plays a womanizing anger therapist with problems of his own, is Sheen's first TV series since he was fired in 2011 from his womanizing bachelor role in the top-rated CBS comedy "Two and A Half Men".
The audience for "Anger Management" was about a third of the viewers Sheen attracted for "Men". He lost that job after publicly insulting producers during months of erratic behavior.
TV critics gave "Anger Management" a lukewarm reception, with many feeling it was a tired version of Sheen's former character. The Los Angeles Times said the show was "just average", while the New York Daily News called it funny and said it had an oddball collection of characters.
Also on FX, comedian Russell Brand's new late-night stand-up show, "Brand X", got off to what the network called "a good start" on Thursday with 1.1 million viewers.
FX is the cable arm of Fox television, owned by News Corp, and is aimed mostly at young men.
(Reporting By Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)