The sixth season of FX’s “American Horror Story” got off to a strong start. Wednesday’s episode easily ranked as cable’s top live+same-day performer in adults 18-49 and total viewership.
It tied NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” as Wednesday night’s #1 show – period – in adults 18-49.
According to live+same-day data posted, Wednesday’s episode drew a 2.8 adults 18-49 rating and 5.14 million total viewers. The numbers trail the 3.0 rating and 5.81 million viewer mark posted by last season’s premiere but remain impressive by any reasonable cable standard.
Given the show’s strong rapport with DVR users, the numbers should become considerably more impressive in the live+3 and live+7 reports. FX insists it values that data to a far greater extent than live+same-day.
Attention will, naturally, turn to the show’s retention in the coming weeks. The past two “American Horror Story” seasons suffered steep declines from start-to-finish, and this one presents unusual variables.
Whereas the past few “AHS” iterations premiered in October, this year’s edition started in September — a week before the true start of the television season. This week’s premiere thus faced limited opposition; will the introduction of opposition from networks like CBS and ABC accelerate the decline in the coming weeks?
There is also the potential impact of the secretive promotional strategy.
Going into Wednesday’s broadcast, the season was shrouded in mystery and known only by the subtitle “6.” We now know it will focus on the mockumentary “My Roanoke Nightmare” and be called “American Horror Story: Roanoke.”
Did the mystery drive curiosity sampling from people who will not regularly watch the show (thus suggesting a sharp decline in the coming weeks)? Or, did it hinder the promotional impact — people had less which to get excited — and thus bottleneck this week’s rating (thus suggesting less of a decline moving forward)?