By Tim Molloy
NEW YORK (TheWrap.com) – “Sons of Anarchy” returned Tuesday with the most viewers in the show’s history, according to preliminary numbers.
The season four premiere, which featured the members of the SAMCRO motorcycle club getting out of prison and returning to find their beloved Charming threatened by shady real-estate dealings, delivered 4.94 million total viewers and 3.22 million adults 18-49. It gained 20 percent in total viewers and 15 percent in the demographic over its third-season bow.
FX said the show was likely to be the most-watched single episode ever for an FX original series when Live+7 data is available from The Nielsen Company.
The previous high in total viewers for a single episode of the show was the season two finale, which delivered 4.32 million. The previous high in the demo was 3.03 million for the season two premiere.
Including the premiere and two encore runs at 11:30 p.m. and 1 a.m., the show had 7.25 million total viewers and 4.76 million viewers in the demo.