‘Game of Thrones’ Season 5 Premiere Breaks Audience Record
When the first half of Game of Thrones Season 5 leaked online, fingers were pointed, voices were raised and the internet exploded into a debate about piracy for the nth time. Meanwhile, HBO’s wildly popular fantasy series premiered to a record audience, proving that not even an unfortunate leak that huge could hinder the show’s insane track record.
Although HBO has yet to unveil all of the official numbers, The Hollywood Reporter says that the grand return to Westeros and its various unhappy occupants was witnessed by just south of eight million viewers. To put that in perspective, that is 1.4 million more viewers than the Season 4 premiere and 800,000 more than the Season 4 finale, which used to hold the series record for most viewers. That number may pale when compared to the number of people who watch The Walking Dead in a single night, but for a subscriber service like HBO, those numbers are huge. Huuuge.
Of course, those eight million viewers don’t include the people who watched it later on HBO Go and HBO Now. Nor does it include the people who recorded it on their DVR and will catch up with the episode later this week. When all of these numbers were tabulated last year, Game of Thrones became the most watched show in HBO history with 19.1 million viewers. That’s why HBO has been mum on the exact numbers so far — they’re going to wait until all of the viewers from the various sources roll in throughout the week.
So even with the leaked episodes, Game of Thrones is bigger than ever. Remember when everyone claimed they were going to quit the show when Ned Stark got his head chopped off in Season 1? Liars.