Total viewers for “The People v. O.J. Simpson” just slipped double digits on a percentage basis from its impressive FX series premiere.
The second episode of the anthology series’ initial run received 7.4 million total viewers, thanks to the benefit of three-day delayed viewing. The series premiere racked up 8.3 million total viewers by that same Nielsen metric. That’s down just about 11 percent, a retention rate FX appears to be pretty pleased with. In the key 18-49 demo, the slide was just six percent comparing first-run to first-run.
With some extra encores, the “American Crime Story” debut actually racked up 12 million total viewers over the course of its first three days. FX hasn’t tallied the encores for Episode 2 yet, but there were fewer airings of those and thus fewer eyeballs overall.
The cable channel reports Live + 3 Day ratings, a sometimes arbitrary middle ground between “live” ratings and Live + 7 Day figures. However, FX is correct in recognizing that the full viewership story worth telling here is still weeks — or even months — away.
Obviously, “The People v. O.J. Simpson” had a ton of promotion and intrigue leading up to its series premiere, and that naturally dissipates over the course of a season, so we’ll monitor this show as it chugs along. Thus far, its impact across cable — and even competing versus broadcast TV — has been undeniable.
Episode 3 of “American Crime Story” airs tonight at 10/9c on FX.
In Tuesday’s episode, Marcia Clark (Sarah Paulson) announces that O.J. Simpson (Cuba Gooding Jr.) has been charged. Robert Shapiro (John Travolta) seeks advice from F. Lee Bailey (Nathan Lane) and comes up with a provocative strategy. As Shapiro starts putting together “The Dream Team,” he must convince O.J. to hire Johnnie Cochran (Courtney B. Vance). Written by D.V. DeVincentis; directed by Anthony Hemingway.
The first installment of FX’s “American Crime Story” hails from executive producers Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski and Brad Falchuk. The limited series is produced by Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions.
This season is based on Jeffrey Toobin’s book “The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson.”