Early renewals are nothing new in television, as networks are often eager to announce additional seasons of successful programs as a way to encourage viewers to remain committed, and get those on the fence tuning in as well. In essence, giving those at home a reason to be as invested as the network is. That generally comes into play with new programs still looking to attract an audience, but the incentive still works when it comes to shows that have been around a while, too, like Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk's American Horror Story.
Coming off a visually revamped sixth season that took the show's normally over-the-top and lush production values and stripped them down to a mix of found-footage horror and a sardonic take the recent resurgence in the true crime subgenre, the long-running horror anthology maintained its foothold as a ratings winner and easily secured an early renewal for season 7. Not long after, Murphy began offering some details on what viewers could expect from the series' future, teasing a potential crossover season between the witches of Coven and Murder House. The idea struck a chord apparently; FX has plans to see AHS stick around a while after season 7.
At the TCA Winter Press Tour 2017, the network announced that it has already renewed American Horror Story for two additional installments beyond the already announced season 7. That's right, AHS will be around for seasons 8 and 9 – though, as you may have already guessed, no details were given on what fans might expect.
CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions John Landgraf said in a statement:
“American Horror Story launched the modern limited series revolution and – as evidenced by the most recent installment ‘Roanoke’ - it remains as vital today as when Murder House stunned audiences six years ago. Each new chapter is a cultural event, beloved for every new twist in imagery, style, cast and plot. We are thrilled that Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and the entire creative team will continue to deliver the groundbreaking, celebrated American Horror Story for years to come.”
The early renewal for two additional seasons on top of one that hasn't even aired yet is about as concrete a sign of confidence in a series as a network can give. And it's one that makes a lot of sense. According to FX:
"The American Horror Story franchise has won 15 Emmy Awards and dominates FX’s top telecasts of all time. In P18-34, for example, 12 of the Top 15 most-watched FX telecasts ever are AHS telecasts."
Additionally, according to FX, season 6, Roanoke, was the top-rated limited series on television in 2016, and overall ranked just below The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones with adults in the coveted 18-49 and 18-34 demographics.
Since launching American Horror Story, Murphy and Falchuk have gone on to bring the network even greater success with the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, which is set to continue as an anthology and probe the fallout of Hurricane Katrina, and by all accounts they have another star-studded hit on their hands with FEUD: Bette and Joan. The third anthology from the dynamic duo takes a look at famous celebrity feuds, this time focusing on the one between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. As evidenced by Murphy's past success, the series was able to bring in Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange, as well as Stanley Tucci and Alfred Molina to star.
American Horror Story will likely always be contentious amongst viewers, but perhaps that's a key part of its continued ratings success. Nine seasons is a long time for a series to run – especially on a cable network that's constantly looking for fresh new ideas. There's no word on whether or not season 9 may be groomed to be the anthology's last, or if the series' ability to reinvent itself means AHS could be running for a long time to come. At any rate, we now know it'll be around for three more seasons at least.
American Horror Story continues with season 7 in the fall of 2017 on FX.