Impeachment: American Crime Story ratings down from previous installments

The latest installment of Ryan Murphy and FX’s American Crime Story franchise premiered this week and while Impeachment has the tantalizing subject matter of the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal, ratings were down considerably from the previous installments of the anthology series.

Impeachment premiered to just 916,000 total viewers on Tuesday night and in the key 18-49 demographic, the drama drew a mere 309,000 same-day viewers, per Nielsen. This is well below the 5 million+ that tuned in for The People v. O.J. Simpson back in 2016 and even lower than the 2.2 million viewers who watched the first episode of 2018’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace. The good news is that Impeachment was the top scripted cable telecast for the night but it also came in fourth overall behind a trio of Fox News commentary shows. The previous installments routinely topped the night for all cable on the night they aired and, while Versace didn’t debut as high as O.J. Simpson, that installment saw steady growth in its subsequent airings. Can Impeachment hope for the same improvement?

It should be noted that the viewership landscape has changed a lot since 2018 when the last installment aired. There are many more options out there to consume new television and streaming has begun to rival cable programming, particularly during this last year when we have been dealing with the pandemic. This could very well be why Impeachment came in so low. The series could see significant gains in delayed viewing once that is factored in.

There is also the issue of hype. Impeachment lost momentum when writing delays and then the pandemic pushed the third installment from premiering much earlier than its current debut. The People Vs. O.J. Simpson also had the hype of being the first of the bunch and having red-hot subject matter that still captivates true crime junkies today. Versace’s momentum was propelled by a career-defining performance from Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan that saw him sweeping TV awards season after its debut. The Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal is no doubt interesting but many other sex scandals have dominated headlines over the years that make their indiscretion seem tame by comparison.

It could also be the political subject matter of the story. The third installment of American Crime Story depicts the events leading up to Bill Clinton’s (Clive Owen) 1998 impeachment through the lens of the three women at the center of the events, Monica Lewinsky (Beanie Feldstein), Linda Tripp (Sarah Paulson), and Paula Jones (Annaleigh Ashford). Lewinsky herself served as a producer on the series, even providing notes to writer Sarah Burgess throughout the writing process. This is a chance to tell HER story but we’re also a public so bogged down by politics that, even if it’s political shadiness of the past, it may not be a subject matter we’re all dying to take in.

Did YOU watch Impeachment: American Crime Story? What are YOUR thoughts on the premiere ratings?

Source: Variety

About the Author

3191 Articles Published