Did ‘American Horror Story’ Just Beat ‘The Walking Dead’ In Ratings? [Spoilers]

American Horror Story just aired what some are calling the most pivotal episode for Season 6 of the show. The turning point for My Roanoke Nightmare happened on Episode 6 that officially turned Season 6 into a story with more depth outside of the faux reality show that has been airing since September.

But what American Horror Story did at the beginning of Episode 6 is viewed by many as “trash talk” against another horror TV show giant, The Walking Dead. For most, it comes as no surprise that The Walking Dead has been a smash hit for the past several years now, breaking cable and broadcast records alike to become the unlikely king of television.

At its peak, The Walking Dead was drawing between 15 and 20 million viewers per episode, which accounts for Live + 3. That translates to the number of people watching the show at the time it aired combined with the number of people that used their DVRs to watch The Walking Dead over the next three days.

By comparison, American Horror Story has consistently drawn between 2 and 10 million viewers per episode, with certain degrees of fluctuation, and their Season 4 Freak Show installment was the best on record.

On October 12, American Horror Story: Roanoke drew in 2.8 million viewers for Episode 5 of Season 6, according to TV By The Numbers, a website that reports on TV ratings and is powered by Zap2It. But when American Horror Story aired Episode 6 of Season 6, they made a claim that was a direct jab at The Walking Dead.

Fans of American Horror Story had been eagerly anticipating Episode 6 of Roanoke because Ryan Murphy had teased that everything would change in that episode and there would be a huge twist in the storyline. As it turns out, that huge twist came at the very start of the episode when a title card was displayed that reported My Roanoke Nightmare (the fake internal docu-series) had beaten several major programs for Sunday night, one of which included The Walking Dead, in 2015.

American Horror Story Season 6 Episode 6
Image by FX

The title card also insinuated that the fake show within Season 6 of American Horror Story was a surprise hit, getting 23 million viewers on the season finale, which would have been American Horror Story Season 6, Episode 5 for us real-life viewers.

So in perspective for real-life numbers, Season 6, Episode 5 of American Horror Story actually got 2.8 million viewers and a 1.5 rating in the 18-to-49 demographic, which is the key demographic for ad-supported cable and broadcast.

But even though the claim that American Horror Story made on Episode 6 was fake (as intended), that episode did in fact turn out to be the number one show on cable television that night, beating out other cable shows airing at or around prime time.

Therein lies the major twist, among other events that were portrayed on American Horror Story last Wednesday night. But the shocking title card was enough to play a little politics with the horror TV audience, making them believe that American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare had beaten The Walking Dead, a show that most have considered unbeatable.

It might also be worth mentioning that fake actors for the show have been brought back in to interact with the “real” people that went through the nightmarish events that were portrayed by Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding, Jr., which made for some interesting bedfellows.

American Horror Story - Roanoke
Image by FX

Season 6 of American Horror Story will now be moving forward with an updated theme, which is Return To Roanoke: Three Days In Hell.

American Horror Story: Roanoke airs on FX every Wednesday for the next three weeks. Season 6 of American Horror Story has been shortened to 10 episodes this year.

[Featured Image by FX]