James Hibberd of Entertainment Weekly has the full numbers from the Game of Thrones premiere. Hibberd reports that 2.2 million viewers watched the first airing at 9 PM, 1.2 million watched the second airing and 800,000 the third. The total number of viewers who watched Thrones on Sunday night was 4.2 million!
The first episode delivered a decent 2.2 million viewers for its premiere airing, then a rather strong 1.2 million for its first encore (the NBA playoff game with the Celtics vs. Knicks might have pushed some viewership to the second airing), and another 800,000 for the third telecast for an overall healthy total of 4.2 million. HBO then aired Thrones six times across all its channels Monday night, and those numbers will be added to this post later today.
Thrones first telecast was down 54% from the premiere of 2010′s Boardwalk (4.8 million) which received an immediate second season renewal. Yet HBO always takes into account what Sunday show was used to ramp up viewers to the new program’s premiere, and Thrones had a weak platform — Mildred Pierce, which averaged around 1 million viewers, a number Thrones more than doubled.
Winter Is Coming: I think HBO has to be pleased with this number. Expecting the 5-6 million that tuned into Boardwalk Empire‘s premiere was unrealistic. Over 4 million total viewers is a great start and I really think word-of-mouth will help propel this series to an increase of viewers by the end of the first season, as opposed to Empire‘s downward trend. Now we wait for that season two announcement …
UPDATE: James Hibberd provides an update: an additional 1.2 million people watched Game of Thrones during Monday repeat airings. This brings the direct viewing number to the total of 5.4 million.