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OTRC: 'American Horror Story: Coven' debuts to record ratings

Jessica Lange, Emma Roberts, Jamie Brewer, Taissa Farmiga and Gabourey Sidibe appear in a promotional still from 'American Horror Story: Coven.' (Michele K. Short / FX)

"American Horror Story: Coven" scared up a huge audience for its third season premiere, drawing in big ratings for the show.

"Coven" pulled in a record 5.54 million viewers in its original telecast on Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 10 p.m., a 44 percent jump from the show's previous season high, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The night also averaged 3.87 million in the coveted 18-49 adult viewing demographic.

Last year's "Asylum" season premiere garnered 3.85 million viewers and 2.78 million in demo viewers, a previous record for the FX network. The "Coven" premiere is also up from "Asylum's" season finale, which averaged 2.3 million viewers and 1.3 million in the 18-49 demo when the season concluded in January 2013.

The show's stars spoke to OTRC.com earlier this month, saying the season was going to be much lighter and comical in comparison to the serious-toned season 2.

"I think that I did it on purpose because last year it was about mental institutions and it was very dark and had to be," creator Ryn Murphy told OTRC.com. "We told the truth about that and it was a very honored season but many of the actors said, 'Come on, can I just wear a dress and smoke a cigarette and say a joke now and again?' I always like to do the opposite. Next year, I'm sure it will be so dark that no one will watch it. I don't know."

"American Horror Story: Coven" airs Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET on FX.

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