July 06, 2012 at 10:17 PM EDT

Everybody expected the ratings for Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management to go down in week 2.

The question was: By how much?

Last week’s Biggest FX Premiere Ever saw the newbie comedy deliver 5.5 million and 5.7 million viewers, respectively, for its back-to-back debut episodes. Thursday night’s followup delivered 3.4 million viewers and 1.7 million adults 18-49.

That’s down 38 percent in viewers and 35 percent in the demo (with a repeat of last week’s Anger Management doing a  solid 2.2 million).

Those premiere numbers are still strong for FX, but the week-to-week decline is a bit steep. You usually look for a drop of about 12 percent for a typical show’s second week, maybe 20-25 percent if the premiere set ratings records like Management. The Fourth of July holiday might have had an impact. Next week the network will likely hope to see an audience bump (or at least a leveling off).

Remember, if Anger Management‘s 10-episode season hits a certain ratings threshold, FX will automatically order a whopping 90 more episodes. Last night is the first episode that will count toward that average. Critics were mixed to negative about Anger Management, which follows Sheen playing a therapist struggling to overcome his own issues. AM drew an average score of 44 out of 100 on Metacritic, with EW’s own Ken Tucker saying the “jokes are scattershot and sloppy.”

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