American Horror Story, FX's top-rated freshman series in network history, returned to similarly strong numbers on Wednesday night.
The premiere of the anthology-style drama's second incarnation, Asylum, opened to 3.85 million viewers in its inaugural 10 p.m. broadcast. Equally impressive, the episode also pulled 2.78 million in the coveted adults 18-49 demographic. Final ratings will likely have it positioned as cable's top performer in the demo and total viewers.
Last year's debut of American Horror Story opened to 3.18 million total viewers, ultimately growing to 3.22 million for the finale. This second opener marks a 22 percent increase, year over year.
Asylum has big shoes to fill on the network. Its predecessor, which led this year's Emmy nominations with 17 kudos in the miniseries categories, was dubbed 2011's most time-shifted program by Nielsen. The DVR heavyweight averaged an impressive 3.3 million adults 18-49 with every episode in Live+7 data.
The second helping of dark thriller, from Glee co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, sees returning cast in Jessica Lange, Evan Peters and Sarah Paulson.