The hype for this final season of Game of Thrones is unparalleled. More people than ever are watching the show, and more of them are doing so as soon as possible to avoid getting spoiled. What did that result in, ratings-wise? Let’s have a look!
Entertainment Weekly reports that the season premiere, “Winterfell,” was viewed by a record-breaking 17.4 million watchers in the US on Sunday evening, though there is a catch: this was across multiple airings, and including some of the streaming services.
On first airing, which is the traditional measurement, the previous record-holder was the season seven finale, “The Dragon and the Wolf,” at 12.1 million. Though we don’t know the equivalent figure for this new episode yet, on the same measurement of overnight telecast and partial streaming “The Dragon and the Wolf” had an at-the-time record-breaking viewership of 16.9 million, so “Winterfell” probably broke the first airing record as well as this less concrete and comparable metric of overnight viewership.
EW also points out this makes the season eight premiere HBO’s biggest telecast ever and 2019’s most-watched scripted content, reportedly surpassing The Big Bang Theory‘s 14.1 million viewers earlier on the year, despite it being aired on a broadcast network.
Of course, we’ll update you as we get more information. Hopefully we’ll get the first airing figure for “Winterfell” so we can properly compare it to the rest of the show—though, to be fair, more people than ever watch it via streaming. With times and our viewing habits changing, there’s simply no perfect comparison to be made.