Now that American Horror Story Season 6 has officially given up the ghost of its mystery theme, FX must take stock of their unorthodox approach to promotion. It seems viewers may not have been enticed to tune in for the big reveal after all, as early ratings for American Horror Story: Roanoke (that’s the name, we checked) are below that of last year’s Hotel.

Take this with a minor grain of salt, as the Season 6 premiere ratings may significantly increase by the time Live+3 DVR playback totals arrive, just as Hotel did. That said, TVLine reports that American Horror Story: Roanoke netted only 5.14 million viewers and av2.8 demo rating, down over 12% from that of the American Horror Story: Hotel premiere last October.

Granted, there’s any number of factors at work outside of a maniacally vague promotional campaign, whether an early September bow for a series normal earmarked for October, or timeslot competition from genre picks like the penultimate outing of Mr. Robot Season 2, or the Season 20 premiere of South Park. Hotel likely did a number on waning fandom as well, as the first season without Jessica Lange at the helm, and a significant uptick in camp.

Roanoke is likely to receive a sizable bump in DVR viewership, potentially even outpacing that of Hotel, but will Season 6 manage to sustain any buzz over its 10-episode run? Are American Horror Story’s best days officially behind it?

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