Did you watch last week’s premiere of American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson? If not, you’re basically the only one. (And I’m confused by you.) According to a new press release put out this morning, ACS was the most-watched original scripted series premiere in FX’s 22-year history, drawing 12 million total viewers (including encore showings) from across the country, and probably several additional million viewers from across the world illegally streaming it online.
The initial airing of the series drew 8.3 million viewers, 4.2 million of which were adults age 18-49. For those who aren’t following Ryan Murphy’s career as closely as Ryan Murphy is following Jessica Lange’s bank activity, this means that ACS has officially beat out Murphy’s previous smash hit, American Horror Story: Murder House, which was previously ranked at No. 2 in that category with 2.8 million viewers. ACS also came for the No. 1 spot of The Shield, which brought in 3 million viewers age 18-49, and crushed The Shield‘s premiere’s total viewership numbers (4.8 million) by 73 percent. It also delivered a swift blow of justice to Justified, which similarly captured the attention of 4.8 million viewers for its premiere.
With these types of viewership numbers, American Crime Story will likely spawn multiple seasons — in fact, Murphy and co. are already planning season two, which will follow the events and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In the meantime, though, frenzy for this season is continuing to build, with The People v. O.J. Simpson ranking No. 1 of all series in 2016 on Metacritic and garnering a 97 percent Certified Fresh score on that great bastion of taste, Rotten Tomatoes. Outside of the critical world, people and media outlets are expressing their enthusiasm for the series in a variety of insane ways, including flocking to Nicole Simpson’s “murder house” and searching for O.J.’s getaway Bronco.