american horror story: cult

‘It’ might be scaring up record-breaking audiences at the multiplex, but the scary clowns of ‘American Horror Story: Cult’ may have scared off viewers.  The seventh season premiere of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s anthology series debuted to a rating of 2.02 which translates to 3.93 million audience members.  That’s down 24% overall from last season.  ‘Roanoke’‘s premiere was seen by 5.1 million people.  On the plus side, the ‘Cult’ premiere did fare better than the season finale of ‘Roanoke’ which only drew 2.45 million.

This premiere is the lowest since the second season ‘Asylum’ which drew 3.85 million viewers.  Prior to that ‘Murder House’, the first season, only drew 3.18 million watchers, but that was before the show became a water cooler favorite.  From there, the show’s popularity grew, only to diminish in more recent seasons.  The ‘Coven’ (Season 3) premiere improved over ‘Asylum’, drawing 5.54 million viewers.  Then ‘Freak Show’ saw another growth with 6.13 million.  However, after that, things dipped a bit, with ‘Hotel’ slipping to 5.81 million viewers.

The dip in ratings for the premiere of the last two seasons, plus the declining ratings over the course of last season could indicate that the series has simply peaked.  That’s nothing to be ashamed of necessarily.  Nothing lasts forever.  (Well, except ‘Supernatural’, it seems…)  It’s possible the show has seen its heyday.

On the optimistic side, these figures are only taking into account live and same-day viewings, meaning that once DVR and streaming are factored in, things could improve, but only viewings within a week count toward that.  Also, even with the drop, ‘AHS’ still had the highest ratings of any original program on cable and the second best ratings of any original show on any network, second only to NBC’s ‘America’s Got Talent’.

It’s also within reason that fans simply weren’t prepared for new programming.  None of the big networks have had their fall premieres yet, so the new season may have caught some off-guard.  And we are living in an ever-changing world and people aren’t slaves to live viewing anymore.

Story-wise, it is conceivable that some were turned off by the fact that ‘Cult’ is so heavily inspired by last year’s divisive Presidential election, not to mention the current bleak political climate.  After being bombarded by constant turmoil all day, it wouldn’t be surprising for people to want more escapism in their entertainment.  And despite ‘It’, it’s no secret that a lot of people are terrified of clowns, even innocuous ones, much less those made up to be scary.  Any of these could have contributed to ‘Cult”s disappointing bow.

But things may yet turn around.  We’ll see in the coming weeks.

Did you watch the premiere of ‘Cult’?  What did you think?  Should more people be tuning in?

Source: Cinema Blend