'American Horror Story: Hotel' Premiere Becomes No. 2 Telecast in FX History

With Lady Gaga starring, the debut episode drew 6.3 million viewers in the key 18-49 demo.
Courtesy of FX
'American Horror Story: Hotel'

American Horror Story: Hotel swung open for business in a major way.

In fact, the FX anthology series' fifth-season premiere Oct. 7 marked the second most-watched telecast in FX Networks' history, behind only the opener for AHS: Freak Show.

The Hotel debut drew 6.3 million viewers in the key 18-49 demo, ranking as No. 5 among all new and returning series premieres this fall. With the younger-skewing 18-34 demo, where it delivered 3.7 million, it bumped up to No. 3. Once nonlinear platforms were factored in across its first three days post-air, AHS' audience ballooned to 12.2 million total viewers. 

A boost was expected with Lady Gaga joining the series’ cast, replacing AHS veteran Jessica Lange as co-creator Ryan Murphy’s resident muse this season. As the owner of the titular Hotel Cortez, Gaga’s The Countess is a mysterious and glamorous woman who subsists on a diet of sex and blood. (Note: The first episode featured plenty of both.)

Her role in AHS is the singer-performer's first turn on a series. Just ahead of the East Coast premiere, she tweeted to her 51.4 million followers, “I’m gonna be AN ACTRESS IN 40 minutes on the screen mom!” Time magazine called AHS Gaga’s “greatest reinvention yet,” and Murphy has already extended an offer to have her back for season six.

News of the series’ giant open comes as the franchise, co-created by Brad Falchuk, continues to pay dividends for FX. AHS has seen its viewership grow each year that it’s been on, with the series’ fourth installment, Freak Show, becoming the most-watched program in FX history. 

Over the course of its run, the franchise also has received 71 Emmy nominations and 13 awards. Many of the stars, including Sarah Paulson, Matt Bomer, Kathy Bates and Evan Peters, are back for the fifth season, which centers on a theme of addiction. 

At Hotel’s premiere event over the weekend, Falchuk stayed mum on potential themes for the series’ sixth edition, acknowledging only that ideas are “tickling in the back of the brain.”

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