From “Nip Tuck” to “Sons of Anarchy,” FX has had its share of popular dramas over the years — but none quite as big as “American Horror Story.”
The premiere of the anthology miniseries’ fourth installment has become the most-watched telecast in network history, FX announced on Monday. And as a reward, the net has ordered a 13-episode fifth season of Ryan Murphy’s award-winning show for next fall.
With three days of DVR playback included, last Wednesday’s series premiere of “American Horror Story: Freak Show” surged to all-time highs in total viewers (10 million), adults 18-49 (6.54 million) and adults 18-34 (4.08 million).
It vaulted ahead of previous record holder “Sons of Anarchy,” whose final-season premiere last month garnered 9.25 million total viewers in “live plus-7” ratings, including 6.1 million adults 18-49. The previous high in adults 18-34 was held by “American Horror: Coven.”
What’s perhaps most impressive is that “Freak Show’s” network-record totals were achieved with just three days of time-shifting. Of course, it will only pad these network records with its “live plus-7” averages.
The premiere ratings for “American Horror Story: Freak Show” topped the premiere episode of last year’s third installment of the franchise, “Coven,” by 38% in total viewers (10 million vs. 7.27 million), 29% in Adults 18-49 (6.54 million vs. 5.07 million) and 40% in adults 18-34 (4.08 million vs. 2.92 million).
In live plus same-day, “American Horror Story: Freak Show’s” premiere drew a strong 3.11 rating in adults 18-49 (nearly 4 million in this age group) and 6.127 million viewers overall.
This was the third straight year that it had opened to a higher number. The premiere of the “Murder House” season in 2011 did a 1.59 rating and 3.184 million total viewers, and that was followed a year later by “Asylum” (2.20 rating in 18-49, 3.848 million total viewers), and then last year by “Coven” (3.05 rating in 18-49, 5.538 million total viewers).