Standing atop the cable television mountain as the current ratings king, it comes as a surprise to no one that FX’s outlaw-biker drama Sons of Anarchy has received an order for season 5 sometime in 2012.
The show’s success comes at around the halfway point in the fourth season, which not only has set the benchmark for the series in terms of ratings, but also gives its network, FX, bragging rights for having the current number one drama on cable.
At present, Sons of Anarchy is drawing around 5.8 million viewers to its Tuesday night airings – which is a 30 percent increase on the audience from season 3. Once alternative viewing methods such as DVR, On Demand and encore airings are factored in, the boys of SAMCRO generally conjure up an impressive audience of 9 million viewers. Moreover, the premiere of season 4 on September 6th was the highest-rated episode in FX network history, pulling in 6.5 million viewers.
Commenting on the recent renewal for the fifth season, and Sons of Anarchy’s remarkable standing in the ratings, FX president John Landgraff had this to say:
Everyone at FX is very grateful to Kurt Sutter, his many writing, directing and producing collaborators and his masterful cast for making such a compelling and beautifully crafted show. It is no small challenge to bring the themes of a great, ancient play like 'Hamlet' into a wholly original television setting and to tell his complex story in a way that is both riveting and accessible to a broad audience.
The show’s success has become something of a two-way street for talent, offering stars like Charlie Hunnam (Jax) the opportunity to work with co-star Ron Perlman’s frequent cinematic collaborator Guillermo Del Toro onthe big-budget sci-fi extravaganza Pacific Rim, while attracting the interest of well-known faces like Danny Trejo and David Hasselhoff for guest spots during the current season of Sons.
Sons of Anarchy has also raised the profile of series creator Kurt Sutter, who - after the disappointment of his series being omitted from this year’s Emmy Awards - brought forth a verbal tirade via Twitter and his own blog. The fallout of said tirade subsequently saw Sutter shut down his Twitter account - albeit temporarily. Of course, given the nature of the show, such outbursts likely earned Sutter more credibility amongst his ever-growing fanbase.
Though Sons of Anarchy is currently enjoying its hard-fought success, with the acquisition of every crown there is born an adversary looking to take it, and with season 2 of The Walking Dead starting off strong – garnering interest and support from a similar demographic – it will be interesting to see if the boys of SAMCRO will remain atop the ratings heap come season’s end on November 29th.
Season 4 of Sons of Anarchy continues Tuesday nights @10pm on FX.