Shrouded in mystery, the debut of what we now know is called American Horror Story: Roanoke last night proved you don’t need Lady Gaga to get the wide-eyed eyeballs.
Matching the demo performance of the final numbers of the season finale of America’s Got Talent on NBC, the sixth installment premiere of the FX series from Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk snagged 3.572 million viewers among adults 18-49 for a 2.8 rating. The Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding, Jr. led Chapter 1 episode also ad 5.14 million total viewers for its 10 PM airing. Not only does that make AHS: Roanoke the top rated show on cable last night but also tied for the top rated show of Wednesday night in both broadcast and cable.
Perhaps more importantly, even with Lady Gaga M.I.A. for last night’s debut, as my colleague Anthony D’Alessandro put it so well, Roanoke was very steady in the key demo with the October 7, 2015 opener of the Golden Globe wining American Horror Story: Hotel. Wednesday’s AHS dipped just 7% from Hotel’s debut.
Viewershipwise, Roanoke’s debut was down 11% from the 5.81 million who watched the opening of Hotel. To add some context, that’s the worst an AHS opener has done in overall viewers since the 3.85 million who watched the debut of the Asylum second installment of the anthology series back on October 17, 2012.
Apples to oranges AKA finale-to-debut, last night’s AHS: Roanoke premiere was up 154% in the 18-49s from the January 13 finale of Hotel, which was an AHS season ender low. In overall viewers, last night’s debut was up 124% over the 2.24 million who watched the Hotel finale at the beginning of the year.
Of course, FX says ‘thank you, very much’ but these numbers don’t mean much to us. Focused on Live + 3 numbers, where AHS has shown remarkable digital afterlife strength, the cabler will hold its celebration until the first set of delayed viewing results come in next week.
As an example, the 90-minute long Hotel opener ended up delivering 12.17 million viewers on linear and non-linear platforms in Live + 3 numbers. Adding to treat, 3.7 million of those viewers were in the key demo – a very sweet result even if down from the Live + 3 numbers of 2014’s AHS: Freak Show debut.