NYTimes.com — The premiere of the final season of the FX drama “Sons of Anarchy” scored the best ratings of any program in the 20-year history of the cable channel, with 9.25 million viewers between the live telecast and three days of playback.
The show also attracted 6.1 million viewers among the 18-to-49-year-old audience, which, like the total audience, ranked second among all series premieres on cable this year, topped only by “The Walking Dead,” the enormous hit on AMC.
FX pointed out that “Sons of Anarchy” had more viewers for its premiere than the huge HBO hit “Game of Thrones” — though, to be fair, HBO is available in far fewer homes than FX.
But another comparison was entirely fair. Last Tuesday, when “Sons of Anarchy” played on FX, it was the most-watched show of the night on any channel in the 18-to-49 group, topping CBS’s “Big Brother” by almost three million viewers.
Taking a page from AMC, which has turned its talk series, “Talking Dead” — about “The Walking Dead” — into a separate hit, FX also added a commentary show to follow “Sons of Anarchy” on Tuesdays. That show, “Anarchy Afterword,” attracted just under four million viewers.
EW.com — FX’s murderous biker club is going out on top: Sons of Anarchy returned for its seventh and final season Tuesday night and posted the biggest audience delivery in the show’s history.
The 90-minute opener debuted to 6.2 million viewers at 10 p.m. and a whopping 3.2 rating among adults 18-49. That’s up 5 percent from last year’s premiere. Moreover, Sons beats every show on cable and broadcast (especially Fox’s Utopia).
If Sons continues to pull these kind of numbers — and you know they’ll climb even higher for the series finale — the drama will likely win this slot throughout the fall, and even give broadcast’s Tuesday lineup some very steep competition once that gets underway in the next few weeks.
Be sure to check out the entire interview over at Backstage.com!
How did you go about landing your roles?
Charlie Hunnam: I wasn’t really looking to do comedy, because I’m not really very funny. But Jordan approached me, and for some reason he came to the conclusion I was the guy he wanted and pursued me relentlessly. And it just seemed like there was no risk, really. We made this film for $400,000 in 19 days, and I thought, Why not? It’s either going to be a piece of shit and no one will see it, or it will be great and a fun experience.
Ron Perlman: Little did we know it was going to fall somewhere in the middle, which is our worst nightmare. It’s just good enough that we have to promote it!
Lizzy Caplan: I read the script and thought it was really funny. I think this was around the time I wasn’t super pumped about doing a tiny, tiny movie, but I heard Charlie was attached, and it was an interesting choice because they weren’t going for…
Hunnam: A funny guy?
Caplan: Well, I thought it was a great choice. And I thought it would be a challenge to do some of the weird shit Lassie has to do.
Perlman: I was brought in by Charlie, actually. We had just finished a season of “Sons,” and he said, “This is my summer vacation project, my arts and crafts thing, and the director would like me to pass it on to you.” I was supposed to look at the role Chris Noth ended up playing, but I then get to Phyllis. And there’s this gesture when he meets Frankie—I ask for my hand to be kissed. And I was just thinking of all those “Sons of Anarchy” fans. And I realized that even if I blow this performance, that shot alone will be worth the price of admission.
Caplan: I feel like we all got to play against type, and it was fun to take a swing at something with very low stakes.
Perlman: That’s why one does these little films; you get a chance to do things you wouldn’t normally get to do if the film was more mainstream.
So is Charlie really not funny?
Caplan: No. Not on purpose.
Hunnam: I’m not. Not in the least.
Perlman: I think he can be, but you can never predict it. And actually, comedy only works if you don’t play it for the laughs. You have to immerse yourself in the seriousness of it; therein lies the incongruity.
Ashley Tisdale, now better known as Emma Jean to Sons of Anarchy fans, recently spoke with Collider.com about her experience while on the Sons set. She had nothing but kind words to say and lots of enthusiasm about the show and the cast, including her great appreciation for the show itself. This is what she had to say regarding Charlie:
Your role on Sons of Anarchy involves some action scenes. Did you enjoy playing the more physical aspects? Is that something you’d like to do, in the future?
TISDALE: Yes, that was definitely so much fun. I did a bit of stunt action scenes in a movie I did a long time ago, but it was nothing compared to this. It was actually my first time ever being on a motorcycle, and Charlie Hunnam was the first person to give me a ride. I thought that was amazing because I am a big fan of his, and I had the best time. I don’t get starstruck because I’ve met Angelina Jolie and tons of people, but because I watch the show religiously, I just was so starstruck. Every single time I’d be sitting in hair and make-up and somebody else would come into the room, I would freak out. The worst was the 2nd episode that I had to do because everybody in the show was there. I was shaking, I was so nervous, but it was the coolest thing ever. I’d love to do more action stuff, in the future.
What could you say about Emma Jean’s relationship with Jax (Charlie Hunnam)?
TISDALE: Jax really comes through for her, but she’s just there to do her job. She’s a worker and an earner. Because of what happened, in the last episode, we don’t know who told on the club, and she is definitely a candidate for being one of the people who might have. She doesn’t trust everybody, but Jax comes through for her, in a way.
What was the most memorable part of working on the show?
TISDALE: Every single moment I was there, I was just so excited to be with a cast that is extremely talented, extremely grounded, and so nice. I just learned so much from being around them, with Ron Perlman, Katey Sagal and Charlie Hunnam. They are also a really tight-knit group. It was so great to see that they actually are like all the guys. I think they had gone camping that weekend, which I thought was so cool. I had the best time on the show. It was such a great experience.
You can check out Ashley’s entire interview of her experience over at Collider.com
Check out what Charlie had to say about the upcoming fifth season of Sons of Anarchy when The Hollywood Reporter interviewed him at the season five premiere screening this past weekend.
“I think that it’s a really fresh season,” Hunnam told The Hollywood Reporter. “It feels unlike any other season before just by virtue of the fact that Jax is president now. Immediately, the club went from the dictatorship that it has developed into back to the democracy that it always needed to be.”
2. Jax Is at the Head of the Table
One of the biggest changes in season five is that Clay, now feeble and recovering, will not be at the head of the SAMCRO table. Instead, Jax will take over.
“I think he’s an excellent leader,” Hunnam told THR. “He really has had to watch Clay make so many mistakes over the years, and he’s really learned from those mistakes.”
However, leading a club that is threatened by the terrifying Damon Pope (Harold Perrineau) and is struggling to complete its drug runs is definitely taxing on the new leader.
“I think one of the things he hadn’t anticipated was just how difficult it is to not make those mistakes,” Hunnam said. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and I think Jax is starting to appreciate that now.”
As for Jax and Tara’s relationship, this is what Maggie had to say on the subject:
As for her relationship with Jax, Siff called it the “ultimate bad-boy love story.” That story will continue to be written this season as Jax deals with running the club.
“I think they’re kind of fated, they’re meant to be together,” Siff told THR. “I think that they both feel that in some way that doesn’t always make a lot of sense but kind of demands that she keep showing up.”
You can read the article in full over at The Hollywood Reporter as the rest of the cast, including series creator Kurt Sutter discuss the explosive new season!
Make sure you check out the entire interview in full with Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter as he talks about Jax, and our favorite Charming characters leading into season five over at TVGuide.com
What’s the most immediate problem Jax has to deal with?
Sutter: We begin the season with the pressure that we left off with last year. We threw in the death of Damon Pope’s daughter. That ignites early on in the first episode. We see the ramifications of that and Damon Pope’s response to that. Pope obviously starts out as this very strong antagonist and will remain so for a while. The interesting thing that happens with Pope and Jax is they’re forced to get in bed with this guy Nero as a result of their misstep.
Whose counsel will Jax seek in the club? Last we saw, his right-hand man Opie was no longer at his side.
Sutter: We see Jax really create his inner circle as early as the premiere episode. And Opie will definitely be part of that. I think we’ll see in Episode 2 the beginning of that relationship being repaired. As always on this show, it is done through extreme circumstances, but Opie will make an attempt to be back in Jax’s life. I just felt like it would have been too neat and too convenient for Opie, after everything that happened to him, to sort of take a seat at that table at the end of last season. I needed him to earn it a little bit and put him in orbit for an episode or so. And that’s what we’ve done.
Speaking of Tara, is she fully committed to this lifestyle at this point?
Sutter: Tara’s dilemma up to this point was always, “Am I in or am I out?” I think she’s really made the decision last season that she is in. Her dilemma this season is, “OK, I’m in, and how do I rectify that? How do I be true to this world? How do I serve Jax as his queen? How do I help the club? How do I do the things that an old lady is supposed to do and still be true to myself, and is that possible? Can I still be Dr. Tara Knowles and the matriarch of a motorcycle club?” I didn’t want to suddenly in the course of four weeks have Tara turn into Gemma. [But] we will see her definitely make more Gemma-like choices. We’ll see her struggle with her own impulse and then the realization of what it is that she signed up for