News ratings

Game of Thrones premiere ratings released

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.


  • Outstanding, considering how well the NBA playoffs did. HBO only cares about how many people watch the show, not how many people watch it when it first airs. 4.2m is a great #.

  • I was hoping for more on the firts airing, but i completely forgot about the Celtics/Knicks game.

  • Yay! Hopefully we can move on from the other ratings thread now… And a new post about a second season pickup would be nice too. Come on HBO! You can do it! :-)

  • 4.2M is pretty good! I’m also glad they’ve said they’re considering the lead-ins. I thought Mildred Pierce was good, but it definitely wasn’t as strong of a springboard for GoT that True Blood was for Boardwalk.

    I wonder how many people who watched the 2nd/3rd showings were repeat viewers? I watched it twice: the first time quietly and the second with a running commentary with family/friends.

  • Wouldn’t it be hilarious if HBO took 6 days to release a second season anouncement, just like George took 6 years to release ADwD.

  • These are great numbers!!!!! And I fully expect an upward trend with this show.

    Renew now, HBO!!! I’ll promise to buy DVDs for every drama you’ve ever made!!!

  • I’m cautiously optimistic–but I wonder if that’s unique viewers.

    I’d bet a pretty penny that some of those repeat viewers are fans and enthusiasts watching it twice.

  • This is a relief. This will translate into a 3.4, since I believe HBO counts only the first two viewings in its numbers released to the world, but all in all very reassuring. We can all step back from the ledge. Expect a 2.9 cumulative for Easter/no free HBO for E2, but we’ll be fine. Rumors (blog posts at EW) are the ratings in Europe last night were through the roof.
    Thank god. We get ugly you-know-who back—no Playmate!

  • I went to Amazon hoping to pre-order the DVD. Can’t do that yet (not surprisingly), but you can sign up to be notified when it’s available. No idea if anyone tracks that, but I figured it’s worth a try. If we can send a really strong signal that DVD/Blu-Ray sales are going to be huge, that might count for something….If Fox had known how many people would buy Firefly on DVD, it would have run a few more seasons.

  • Season 2! Great news for viewers, terrible news for some of the characters. ;) I hope poor Maisie Williams is prepared for the hell Arya is going to go through…

  • Ordered HBO- check. Bought 4 T-shirts- check. Watched show three times-check. I thinkk I bought 22 more seconds of Dinklage screen time for season 2! Oh yeah!

  • Huh. And people thought we were in trouble with the ratings…bahahahaha!
    4.2 MILLION VIEWERS FTW!!!!!!!!!

  • YES!! I think a lot of us KNEW it would happen, but there’s always an element of uncertainty until you hear it from the horse’s mouth!!

    What are you guys most anticipating in Season 2? A few for me:

    -Tyrion as Hand
    -Harrenhal: Jaqen, weasel soup, the escape, valar morghulis!
    -Melisandre and shadows (interested in who they will cast!)
    -Jon Snow and Qhorin’s last scene
    -Battle of the Blackwater (didn’t really enjoy this passage all that much in the book, but I expect it will be awesome on screen)

    And last, but certainly not least: HOUSE OF THE UNDYING!

  • The 2.2 alone is not bad. When the prelim numbers said it was under 2, that’s what had me worried. Above 2 is not GREAT, but is decent. Apparently no one watched tv on Sunday. Makes me wonder what next week is going to be like, with easter. We still have more repeat views during the week too.

    Yeah, a lot of those repeats were probably superfans, but not all of them. And they still count :) If we all watch the show twice every week, we can help boost the numbers lol.

    Good news on pickup! Expected, but yesterday was shaky!

  • I’m taking bets now (not actually, but I would kind of consider it) that there will be no Qarth in Season 2.

    Didn’t D&D mention that they would have to cut two characters to keep the second season from breaking the bank? Stands to reason that those two characters would be Pyat Pree and Xaro Xhoan Daxos. The only truly crucial development to come from Dany’s time spent in Qarth was the visions from the House of the Undying, and those could easily be substituted in on some kind of much-lower-budget alternative.

    I know that’s the sort of thing we don’t want to hear, but frankly, if cutting Qarth means we can get some kind of decent Blackwater, I’d trade it in a heartbeat.

  • Some posters have already asked ….Is this rating number UNIQUE viewers or does include repeat viewers ?… doesn’t matter really…just curious …

  • Only unique viewers a re counted. Also we still need to wait 3 days for DVR viewers to be counted as this is very important data for advertisers (I know they don’t have advertisers, although I saw Septa Mordane with a Swiffer!! ;-P ) and networks alike.

  • Now everybody select an Ad above and click on it so WIC can afford to upgrade. Or maybe a donation button. I’d donate some money for this great site. Because I think it is fantastic…until it drags like it has the last couple of days.

    Seriously Winter, how can we help improve the site? Because I don’t see traffic load going down until after the season is over.

  • Pythonpete: Only unique viewers a re counted. Also we still need to wait 3 days for DVR viewers to be counted as this is very important data for advertisers (I know they don’t have advertisers, although I saw Septa Mordane with a Swiffer!! ;-P ) and networks alike.

    Thankyou…a legit 4.2m then…Thank God…:)

  • coltaine777: Thankyou…a legit 4.2m then…Thank God…:)

    Still to go up due to the DVR viewers.

    The number of female fans that are talking to me about the show is amazing. I wonder if Ms. Belafante is aware these women exist.

  • Everyone should take into consideration that ratings are not the end all of whether a show will get renewed. DVR, downloads, international market and DVD/Blu sales are just as important these days. The Wire went 5 seasons and it’s ratings were abysmal.

  • I don’t suppose there are numbers broken down by region. HBO us, HBO Canada, HBO Latin America, etc…

    I’m really curious about viewership in different parts of the world.

  • I am gonna light an especially big and fat candle for HBO this Easter, they made my day with season 2!! Thank you HBO! If we could only get to season 3 I would die happy…

  • Did they also count the number of people who acquired it illegally… Because I think (concerting with my friends, over there in France, Finland and Britain) that you can double (or even triple) that 4.2millions number of watchers… I watched it yesterday (My boyfriend wanted to wait for the French subs >.<)

  • Yngvildr,

    I can understand this in certain overseas areas because your getting it late.
    As long as they buy the DVDs to support the show then that works.

  • Game of Thrones averaged 743,000 viewers and peak viewing of 823,000 in its Monday night premiere in the United Kingdom. That tops Sky Atlantic’s previous high (438,000) for Boardwalk Empire. So, while Boardwalk Empire is the far bigger “hit” in the U.S., GoT takes the crown in the U.K. Not much of a surprise perhaps since it seems every actor in Game of Thrones is from the U.K.

  • Was there any doubt given how popular the books were? There was a salivating fanbase there already just waiting for the show. Episode 1 wasn’t all that exciting, so I fully expect ratings to rise up as the intrigue…and the carnage…begins.