Deep Dive: ‘American Horror Story’ Returns With ‘Apocalypse’

FX’s critically acclaimed anthology series American Horror Story is back with fresh episodes to creep out viewers, this time with a season aptly subtitled Apocalypse (the plot centers around a world in nuclear winter where the few survivors live in underground “outposts”). We partnered with Inscape, the TV measurement company with glass-level data from a panel of more than 9 million smart TVs and devices, to examine viewership trends around the series. Also below: what drove viewers’ emotional reaction to the premiere with data from Canvs, and advertising analytics courtesy of iSpot.

We first examined crossover between the last season of AHS (subtitled Cult) and the premiere. Of those households that checked out the premiere of Apocalypse, 42% had also watched Cult — but only 15% of Cult viewers have tuned into Apocalypse so far.

And although another post-apocalyptic show (The Walking Dead) tops the list of other series watched by these viewers, reality TV seems to be their genre of choice overall, with Catfish: The TV Show, Teen Mom OG, Teen Mom 2 and Jersey Shore: Family Vacation ranking high.

When it comes to viewer location, similar DMAs are popping for both Cult and Apocalypse. (On the heatmaps below, the darker the color in the graphic, the more households were tuning in.)

According to emotion measurement AI company Canvs, the premiere of AHS: Apocalypse sparked 31,680 Emotional Reactions (ERs) on Twitter, with excitement being the most-expressed emotion during the evening accounting for nearly a quarter of all ERs.

Much of the emotional conversation was driven by actors Evan Peters and Sarah Paulson. While it’s often the case that viewers are more likely to name-check characters instead of the actual actors, this time viewers specifically cited Peters and Paulson when talking about their excitement for the show and seeing these actors return. (It’s worth noting that AHS is unique in that, while each season has a new storyline and set of characters, Peters and Paulson have both appeared in each season and are clearly fan-favorites.)

Data from, the real-time TV ad measurement company, reveals that 28 brands spent an estimated $1.5 million on commercials that generated 156.8 million impressions during the AHS premiere. Truvada, McDonald’s and Universal Pictures were the top three brands when it came to spend.

Notably, spots during the show had an average Attention Index of 119, meaning they received 19% fewer interruptions than average (interruptions include changing the channel, pulling up the guide, fast-forwarding or turning off the TV). Truvada, Sprint, Heineken, Michelob and Taco Bell all had Attention Indices over 130.