FX, known for its risky comedies, has landed a big one: Charlie Sheen's new sitcom, "Anger Management."
The network announced an ambitious deal Thursday that calls for 10 inital episodes of the series loosely based on the 2003 Jack Nicholson-Adam Sandler film, with the possibility of an additional 90 episodes if the show succeeds. It will premiere next summer.
Also read: Sheen Rips New 'Two and a Half Men'
FX said Sheen will retain a "significant ownership stake" in the series, in which an anger management therapist who may need more counseling than his patients wreaks havoc on their lives through his bizarre methods.
Sheen has often seemed erratic at best since his flameout on "Two and a Half Men," but FX — known for some of the most odd, challenging and best comedies on television — is gambling that his ability to draw ratings is worth a bit of erraticism. And Sheen has made an apparent effort to live a more stable life since the meltdown that cost him his CBS gig in March. He sued soon after the firing, and has since settled with Warner Bros. TV, which made the show, and its co-creator, Chuck Lorre.
Terms of the deal with Sheen — who was TV's highest-paid actor on "Men" — were not disclosed. But FX has historically offered show creators almost unprecedented freedom in exchange for lower starting budgets. The model has allowed it to make hits out of edgy shows like "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," and to allow ambitious series like "Louie" to grow.
Sheen's star power likely drew him a much bigger starting salary than most who pitch new shows to the network.
Also read: Sheen Roast Draws Record-Setting Ratings
Since his exit from "Men," he has proven he can also draw an audience on basic cable, pulling 6.4 million viewers for his Comedy Central roast last month. It was the highest-rated, most-watched of all the network's roasts.
After months of ripping Lorre, Sheen tried to make nice with his old show at last month's Emmy Awards, wishing the cast and crew the best. He even posed for a picture with his replacement, Ashton Kutcher, and posted it on Twitter.
But a few episodes into the new season — and after he won the lawsuit settlement — he said he was "extremely disappointed" in the direction the show had taken without him.
"Anger Management" comes from Lionsgate-owned distributor Debmar-Mercury. Writer-producer Bruce Helford ("George Lopez," "The Drew Carey Show") will serve as executive producer and showrunner. It will be produced by Lionsgate Television, Joe Roth and Revolution Studios’ Vince Totino; Sheen manager Mark Burg’s production company, Evolution Management; and Ramon Estevez and Estevez Sheen Productions.
Under the long-term deal — based on a unique syndication model crafted by Lionsgate-owned distributor Debmar-Mercury — the series will air exclusively on FX until off-network episodes start airing in broadcast syndication in fall 2014. The model is based on one for Tyler Perry sitcoms and Revolution Studios and Ice Cube’s "Are We There Yet?"
"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 John Landgraf, president and general manager of FX Networks. "'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."