By James Hibberd
Updated June 29, 2012 at 06:15 PM EDT

Charlie Sheen is back on top the ratings chart.

The series premiere of FX’s Anger Management delivered 5.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched series premiere in the network’s history. The second episode grew to 5.7 million viewers — a very good sign. Among adults 18-49, the show delivered 2.7 million viewers for its debut, then another 2.9 million viewers for Episode 2. Anger Management was also the most-watched scripted comedy series premiere in cable history if you exclude children’s programming. Anger Management also bested every cable and broadcast show in the adult demo last night.

Ratings are key to any show’s survival, but seldom has a show’s debut season performance been more crucial than in the case of Anger Management. If the 10-episode season hits a certain ratings threshold, FX will automatically order a whopping 90 more episodes. Last night’s debut, however, doesn’t count toward the show’s renewal average (FX knows Sheen is going to draw some curiosity tune-in).

Now, comparing Anger Management to CBS’ Two and a Half Men, from a ratings perspective, is totally unfair (one is a cable network premiere during the summer, the other is an established brand on a broadcast network with TV’s biggest comedies). But since I know some of you are curious, here it is: Ashton Kutcher’s debut on Men delivered 28 million viewers.

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.”

FX also premiered the second season of Wilfred (2.5 million viewers) and the third season of Louie (1.4 million). Boosted by the Anger Management lead in, both posted viewership increases over last year (71 percent and 55 percent, respectively). Russell Brand’s new late-night show Brand X opened to 1.1 million viewers.

Over on MTV, the return of Awkward scored stronger ratings than last year’s series debut. Awkward came back up 29 percent with 2.2 million viewers

So, put another way, Charlie Sheen totally stomped Louis CK, proving once again that TV critics do not rule the world.

What you think of Sheen’s return to comedy?