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TV Ratings: ‘American Horror Story: Roanoke’ Premiere Is Third Most Watched Episode in FX Franchise’s History

Driven by a marketing campaign that shrouded the show in mystery, “American Horror Story: Roanoke” is off to a strong start. The sixth installment in the Ryan Murphy-produced anthology premiered Wednesday to the third best numbers in total viewers and key demos of any episode in the franchise’s history.

In Nielsen live-plus-three numbers — live ratings plus three days of delayed viewing — the “Roanoke” premiere drew 8.3 million total viewers, 5.6 million viewers ages 18-49, and 3.4 million 18-34. By those measures, it ranks behind only the premieres of “American Horror Story: Freak Show” — the FX anthology’s highest rated episode — and “American Horror Story: Hotel” among other episodes in the series. According to FX’s own multiplatform numbers, the premiere has drawn 10.9 million total viewers to date.

Although it was down 9% in total viewers and 8% in the 18-49 demo from the “Hotel” premiere, “Roanoke” also ranks as the fifth most watched episode of any FX show among viewers 18-49, following the two other “Freak Show” and “Hotel” debuts as well as two episodes of “Sons of Anarchy.”

“Roanoke” premiered Wednesday night on the heels of a promotional campaign that withheld key details about setting, storyline and cast. The series tells the story of a couple who buys a haunted house, and is connected to the mystery of the lost colony of Roanoke, which saw 117 people disappear in 1590.

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