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Fans were dripping with anticipation - that's what we're calling it - when American Horror Story made its crazy Season 6 debut, which finally let the world in on the secret behind this year's central theme: the faux docu-series My Roanoke Nightmare. And guess what? It looks like the anthology series' surprising change-up in the marketing worked its charms, as the premiere episode "Chapter 1" reached numbers that not only rank extremely high among American Horror Story episodes, but also within the history of FX original programming in general.
American Horror Story: Roanoke, which takes the time-flipping series to a haunted East Coast setting, has to date been watched by 10.9 million viewers, when accounting for Live+3 delayed viewing across both linear television and non-linear means. Not quite on par with some of the show's equally violent TV counterparts like Walking Dead, but it's definitely up there, especially when it comes to everything that has aired in FX's past.
The telecast itself was watched by 8.3 million total viewers (Live+3 still accounted for), with a whopping 5.6 million of those landing in the key 18-49 adult demographic. When American Horror Story: Roanoke's premiere is compared to the first five full seasons, the episode is the third most-watched installment ever. Not just in total viewers, but also in the 18-49 demo and in the 18-34 demo. The premiere also drew in the biggest audience in all of TV on that Wednesday night within the key demographics. Nothing brings crowds like people not knowing what the hell is going on.
Pull the microscope back now to see just how big this episode was for FX in general. FX Networks can now make a plaque for "Chapter 1" being the seventh most-watched telecast out of everything the network has ever aired. As well, it ranks #3 in the 18-34 demo and #5 in the 18-49 demo. That's one hell of an accomplishment for an episode that had more yarn stick figures than actual people.
Of course, while "Chapter 1" ranks higher than the average viewership for Hotel, American Horror Story: Roanoke still didn't manage to top last year's Lady Gaga-starring premiere. It was down 800,000 total viewers and around 500,000 in the key demo. But while Hotel took some ratings stumbles along the way, we'll have to see just how this new format works for Ryan Murphy & Co.
Check out the preview for American Horror Story: Roanoke below to get a taste of what's to come. (It tastes weird, full disclosure.)