On the same night The CW resurrected "Melrose Place" to minimal enthusiasm, FX premiered a new season of the biker drama "Sons of Anarchy" and set ratings records.

In its 10 p.m. premiere on Tuesday (Sept. 8) night, "Sons of Anarchy" averaged 4.29 million viewers. That's a lot for an FX drama, but it's even more impressive when you realize that "Sons of Anarchy" only averaged 2.21 million viewers in its first season, putting Monday's premiere a whopping 94 percent higher.

Of those viewers, 3.03 million of them were in the coveted 18-49 demographic, a 95 percent improvement over the 1.55 million viewers 18-49 tuned in for the series premiere last September (and a 107 percent improvement on the Season One demo average of 1.46 million viewers).

FX is a network that usually shies from big ratings releases -- don't bother asking how many viewers "Damages" averaged last season -- but the "Sons of Anarchy" premiere spawned enthusiasm in nearly every corner.

Among men 18-49, for example, "Sons of Anarchy" hooked 1.97 million. That's the most ever for a ny single telecast of an FX series and the most for any basic cable series in 2009. It's also exactly 300,000 viewers short of the total audience for The CW's "Melrose Place" premiere. Yikes.

All "Sons of Anarchy" figures are based on Fast National Nielsen data and will probably shift a bit when final figures are released.