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‘American Horror Story: Apocalypse’ Premiere Viewers Dip More Than 17 Percent From ‘Cult’ Debut

Season 8 starts off as the least-watched installment yet

“American Horror Story: Apocalypse” premiered last Wednesday, down 17.5 percent in total viewers compared to the start of “Cult” — the Ryan Murphy anthology series’ previous installment — marking the least-watched of all “AHS” debuts, according to Live+3 numbers.

Season 8’s 10 p.m. premiere telecast scored 5.7 million total viewers and 3.5 million viewers in the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic, when counting three days of delayed viewing from Nielsen. Adding in two encore telecasts and all linear and non-linear data available (not including VOD), “Apocalypse”s premiere rose to 7.8 million overall sets of eyeballs in L+3 numbers.

The FX series was the No. 1 show for the evening in the 18-49 range and the most-watched basic cable program of the night. The season opener was also the second-most-watched program of 2018-to-date in the key demo and in total viewers, coming in behind “The Walking Dead.”

Last September, the premiere of Season 7 aka “Cult” drew 6.91 million total viewers and 4.56 million among adults 18-49, in Live+3 numbers. Adding in two encore telecasts and all non-linear data available, the seventh season premiered to 9.01 million viewers.

That number was down 24 percent in overall eyeballs against the 2016 start of “Roanoke” (Season 6) and 29 percent in the key demo.

In live-plus-same-day ratings, “Apocalypse” scored 3.08 million total viewers, also down against “Cult”s debut in that metric, which brought in 3.93 million total viewers in L+SD.

That makes “Apocalypse” the lowest-rated “AHS” season opener in preliminary numbers too, below “Murder House” (Season 1), which landed 3.18 million viewers in 2011, and “Asylum” (Season 2), which put up 3.85 million viewers in 2012.

As TheWrap exclusively reported, “Apocalypse” — a crossover between “Murder House” and “Coven” — will be 10 episodes long. Yes, that means this installment will tie with “Roanoke” for the shortest season yet.

“Apocalypse” stars a slew of franchise alums, including Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, Leslie Grossman, Billy Eichner, Emma Roberts, Billie Lourd, Frances Conroy, Taissa Farmiga, Adina Porter, Cheyenne Jackson, Gabourey Sidibe, Lily Rabe, Stevie Nicks, Dylan McDermott, and, as TheWrap exclusively reported, Connie Britton.

Oh, and let’s not forget the biggest surprise return of all: Jessica Lange. Add to that series newcomers Joan Collins and Cody Fern as Michael Langdon aka the Antichrist and you have a recipe for a true world-ender.

“American Horror Story: Apocalypse” airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.