Tuesday night saw the kickoff of the 5th Season of FX’s hit Sons of Anarchy and holy hit indeed.  Jax, Clay, Tig, Chibs and the rest got up to their usual shenanigans but they did it in front of millions (and millions) of people.  So many millions, in fact, that it just may set the record for the highest rated single broadcast in FX’s 18-year history as a network.  For the facts and figures from Nielsen, the first-run episode of the Sons Season 5 debut (9/11/12, 10-11:30 PM) delivered 5.37 million Total Viewers, 3.5 million Adults 18-49, and 3.45 million Adults 25-54, marking series highs and posting gains of +10% in Total Viewers, +9% in Adults 18-49, and +14% in Adults 25-54 versus its record-setting fourth-season bow. Last night’s premiere telecast and two encore runs (11:30 PM and 1 AM) combined to deliver 7.5 million Total Viewers and 4.86 million Adults 18-49.

For the tiniest of breakdowns for the uninitiated, the 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 demos are pretty much the Big Three, respectively.  They’re what the advertisers are looking at and if your show can kill it there success is all but a guarantee.  What that little blurb above doesn’t mention is that SOA‘s premiere was Number One in the Male subset of those demos, which is kind of funny to me as it was the ladies that kept my Facebook on fire all day Tuesday (omgjax).  Of course, none of this is necessarily “news” for Sons of Anarchy, as making it to a fifth season alone is already a sign of a bonafide hit – they don’t renew shows that nobody watches, obviously – these numbers just keep everyone happy and comfortable in their jobs and salaries.

Again, what is rather special about the numbers here is that when all is said and done this one episode will probably be the single most-watched 90 minutes in the FX Network’s entire on-air run, which is a big deal for a network who has a handful of hits under its belt.  How about you – did you tune into the premiere?  What do you expect for the upcoming season?  Let us know in the comments and on the boards.