American Horror Story returned to the small screen with its most ambitious season to date. American Horror Story: Apocalypse is a crossover between Coven and Murder House, combining casts in a way that would have been impossible to pull off for any other show. The Apocalypse premiere was full of moments that ranged from creepy to hilarious, and the numbers are in to tell how many people tuned in for the first episode of the new season. There's good news and there's bad news.
The good news for American Horror Story: Apocalypse is that it was by far the top ratings performer of cable TV shows on the night of September 12. With a rating of 1.5 in the key 18-49 age demographic (via TV By The Numbers), it was easily the highest-rated show of primetime cable offerings. Its closest competition was an episode of Black Ink Crew Chicago on VH1, which drew a 0.5 rating in the key demo. Coming in with 0.4 were Property Brothers on HGTV, Forged in Fire on History, and Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC.
Interestingly, despite smashing the competition in the 18-49 ratings, American Horror Story was not the most-viewed program in Live+Same day calculations. American Horror Story: Apocalypse was viewed by 3.08 million people. It was beaten by Rachel Maddow with 3.36 million viewers and Hannity with 3.24 million viewers. Still, it's not altogether shocking that AHS was beaten by two cable news mainstays, and the folks at FX should be pleased with how the ratings ranked on Wednesday night.
Then there's the bad news. Although American Horror Story beat its non-news competition in both viewership and ratings with the Apocalypse premiere, the numbers were somewhat disappointing when compared to numbers for previous seasons of the anthology drama. Last season's American Horror Story: Cult scored a 2.0 rating with its premiere. In fact, the Apocalypse Live+Same day ratings are the lowest for any American Horror Story season to date.
The silver lining is that the 1.5 is up 0.5 from the rating for Cult's season finale, so folks who weren't enthralled with last season's arc may have decided to tune back in to check out Apocalypse. Its status as a crossover season certainly has its appeal, and a big question is whether AHS will maintain its premiere measurements in the coming episodes. It's worth noting that many series see their ratings and viewership drop from season to season, with the notable exception of shows like Game of Thrones. Even cable juggernauts like The Walking Dead see semi-steady drops. Fans (and FX) shouldn't panic at the ratings for the Apocalypse premiere at this point.
To see what's in store next in the crossover season of American Horror Story, tune in to new episodes of Apocalypse on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX. AHS is only one of the many shows returning to the airwaves this fall, and there's a lot to look forward to.