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American Horror Story is a show that really shouldn’t work. Prior to the series’ premiere in 2011, there wasn’t really a market for limited-run anthology horror stories on primetime television. Creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk did have success stories behind them – most notably Glee on Fox – to help sell the project, and cable channel FX was an ideal platform for the format, but American Horror Story was far from a sure thing. Now in its fifth season, however, the show has been a ratings juggernaut for the cable channel. The Season 5 premiere aired on October 7, and fans of the show will be pleased to know that American Horror Story is still crushing it in the ratings.
Or should we say… killing it?
According to Variety, the first episode for the fifth anthology installment – entitled American Horror Story: Hotel this time around – was viewed by 5.81 million viewers overall. More important, however, are the numbers for the coveted 18 – 49 demographic. Hotel scored a 3.0 rating and 3.8 million viewers in this age group. While the numbers are down from the previous season’s premiere with the enviable total numbers of 3.1 in the 18 - 49 demographic (and 6.13 million viewers), the ratings for Hotel are impressive for primetime television and exceptional for a cable network.
If you didn't watch the premiere, American Horror Story: Hotel will center on the bizarre goings-on at Hotel Cortez in Los Angeles, featuring everything from a blood-sucking human to a serial killer and a demonic presence. Delightfully and/or terrifyingly bizarre as the premise for Hotel may be, a good deal of the advertisement for this fifth season has focused on the casting of singing sensation Lady Gaga as blood-sucking fashionista and owner of Hotel Cortez.
The selection of a singer with limited acting experience but boasting a massive fan base for a key role raises the idea of stunt casting, but American Horror Story has been consistent is landing big names for strange roles that somehow work fantastically well in the past, and Lady Gaga may just astound us all. At the very least, the ratings certainly don't seem to be affected.
Fortunately for fans of Horror Story who are perhaps anxious about Lady Gaga, the show’s trend of recycling actors from previous anthologies continues. The trend came as something of a surprise when the second season began to air with Season 1 characters returning and has contined with Sarah Paulson, Lily Rabe, and Evan Peters, Kathy Bates and more returning for Hotel.
Past seasons have consistently seen numbers drop for episodes after the premiere, but the intriguing premise and casting may well be enough to allow American Horror Story: Hotel to keep crushing the ratings for the rest of its run.