Although it comes as no surprise, FX has fittingly made a Halloween announcement that the highly-rated haunted house drama American Horror Story has been granted a second season, after airing only four episodes of season 1.
The freshman drama has been a breakout for the network, drawing in better-than-expected numbers – which look to help make AHS the highest-rated first season of any drama on the network.
With a premiere earlier this month, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s escape from the song-filled corridors of William McKinley High School brought in around 3.4 million viewers (very good by cable television standards). However, as the series progressed, and word-of-mouth spread that the show was comprised of more than its kooky marketing, American Horror Story did what few television shows ever manage - see a steady increase in ratings.
The show’s first-run episodes have successfully pulled in an average of 4.2 million viewers, while last week’s episode ‘Halloween: Part 1’ – guest-starring Zachary Quinto (Star Trek, Heroes) – bested all previous counts to become the highest-rated episode thus far.
American Horror Story has been a success beyond the numbers as well. Despite the Hollywood hype-machine – which typically oversells a catchy premise - such as the one the Harmon family (Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton and Taissa Farmiga) and side-players (like Jessica Lange, Frances Conroy and Dennis O’Hare) currently find themselves in - Murphy and Falchuk have managed to deliver a fairly compelling drama, that slowly peels away the layers of mystery laid down from the series’ inception.
In a statement regarding the second season renewal, FX president John Landgraf seemed optimistic AHS would be a ratings grabber for many years to come:
“It’s one thing to have the ambition and guts to reinvent a genre in a way that makes it captivatingly fresh for a broad audience — it’s something else entirely to have the craft to back that ambition up. Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have hit the trifecta with Nip/Tuck, Glee and now American Horror Story, which will be scaring FX’s viewers to death for many years to come.”
Certainly, given the confining premise and loose terms like ‘psycho-sexual thriller,’ the show was likely seen as a bit of a gamble, leaving many to wonder how FX’s little horror story would manage an entire season, much less continue on for ‘many years to come’. Since season 1 doesn’t conclude until December 21, there is plenty of time for the show to solidify its success, or confirm the suspicions of its initial detractors. So far, however, with the backing of the network’s president and the ratings success it has so far enjoyed, it appears the gamble of American Horror Story has paid off.
With the accomplishment of American Horror Story and, of course, AMC’s The Walking Dead, it seems that horror is finding its way into the homes of television viewers. A fact, which begs the question: will horror follow the 1960s and westerns as the new favorite plaything of the networks?
American Horror Story airs Wednesday nights @10 on FX.