News

Game of Thrones is HBO’s biggest hit since The Sopranos

HBO has released some new total audience numbers (you know, the number Geek Furious keeps reminding us is all that matters to HBO) and it is official: Game of Thrones is now HBO’s most popular currently-airing show, and second only to The Sopranos all-time.

Josef Adalian of Vulture is reporting figures from HBO which show that Game of Thrones is averaging 13.6 million viewers per episode. This is higher than True Blood‘s high of 13.0 million and just below The Sopranos‘ 14.4 million. Here is a handy chart:

HBO Viewer Chart

Adalian provides a helpful breakdown of just what the above numbers entail. It is something that we have discussed many times before here, but is worth a refresher:

As noted above, the show is averaging around 5 million viewers for its 9 p.m. Sunday play on HBO. But like most HBO series — as well as a slew of other basic and pay cable shows — that first telecast reps just a small portion of the eventual audience for each episode. For example, the instant encore of GoT that airs at 11 p.m. Sunday can add more than a million more viewers to the tally. The number goes up by about another third when everyone who recorded the show on DVR finally plays it back. The countless repeats on HBO and its so-called “multiplex” channels (HBO2, HBO Latino) boost viewership by about 15 percent, while folks who watch an episode on demand add a similar amount to the final tally. Finally, those who like their GoT carnage on the streaming app HBO GO tack on another 6 percent. Add it all up, and GoT nearly triples its initial audience, ending up with the aforementioned 13.6 million total viewers.

Adalian also notes that HBO has provided the Thrones viewer breakdowns by gender: 57 percent male, 43 percent female. This tracks with what Wired uncovered from perusing Nielsen’s data. Take that, New York Times!

What does this all mean? It means that this show is very, very popular. And given the buzz from the Red Wedding, I expect that popularity will continue to grow. Could the show grow enough to topple The Sopranos as most-watched HBO show ever? At this point, I wouldn’t bet against it.

201 Comments

  • This puts some debates to rest, no?

    Surreal, though. Is it weird I hope that this makes fantasy less of a ‘nerd’ genre?

  • Fantastic news. But I can’t help feeling bad for Treme, which is a great show that deserves a much larger audience.

  • Tom Hilton,

    Well, it doesn’t mean anything about quality. Look how far down The Wire is, and that show’s generally considered one of the greatest of all time (if not the greatest).

  • Way to go!
    I hope GoT continues to grow, and hopefully it’ll end with a big bang.

  • Here’s a question – why was Hung cancelled if viewership was so high? It can’t have been expensive to make.

  • As much as we like tracking and comparing the raw Nielsen numbers of the different series, they simply don’t reflect how a lot of people watch TV anymore. It’s safe to say most people with an HBO subscription have some discretionary income for entertainment/electronics purchases, which makes the possibility of subscribers tuning into Game of Thrones via some alternative platform that much more likely.

    I don’t need to wait for Game of Thrones to best True Blood‘s Nielsen numbers to know it is more a zeitgeist king than True Blood ever was.

  • Just look at that list you’ve got some of the greatest shows of all time there.

    The Wire, The Sopranos, Deadwood, Rome, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire.

    HBO is the best !

  • Interesting to keep in mind, Especially all of the Red Wedding Response videos (folks reacting to it) How many groups watch this show together, in huge parties.

    How much higher would those numbers be with folks who “borrow” HBO Go logins, or pirate the show, or watch the show in large GOT gatherings?

  • Adam:
    Here’s a question – why was Hung cancelled if viewership was so high? It can’t have been expensive to make.

    I think that was the amount of viewers for its first season.

  • Yes! I think considering your point, that must nearly double the viewership. I am consistently at viewing parties that pack bars full!

  • Great news! I believe that 13.6 million is also edges out ratings juggernaut The Walking Dead! Heck, it would probably beat the Sopranos if they factored in international viewers.

    Side note: Girls gets a weirdly large amount of viewers from on Demand/HBO Go. That show was getting less than 800,000 viewers live this season.

  • Considering the likely ratio of paid HBO subscriber-to-pirated downloader audiences between the Sopranos and GoT (Soprano’s debuted to a demographic and during a time where pirating, particularly torrenting, was much less mainstream) and I would place heavy bets that initial GoT viewers FAR exceeds The Soprano’s in terms of numbers and popularity.

    Despite this handicap, it seems GoT is still set to outpace HBO’s all-time heavyhitter. :)

  • Just saying as an European, GOT is bigger than Sopranos ever was internationally, and it’s not even close.

  • It did de create a tremendous buzz out there, so maybe, very maybe The Sopranos record can be broken!

  • The Wire still is the best show ever. and then The Sopranos, Breaking Bad and only then the GoT. at least for me

  • The ‘Red Wedding’ buzz was huge! It GoT covered on several late night tv shows, newspapers, websites and GMA. So maybe, just maybe, ‘The Sopranos’ record can be broken!
    Mhysa: Mother of Episodes!

  • Groovy. I was wondering when they would make this announcement.

    And yeah, it’s a little weird realizing just how mainstream GoT has become.

  • Game of Throne is doing awesome! Fingers crossed the Red Wedding won’t dampen its meteoric rise. It was a fantastic episode, so it shouldn’t do, but it was so chilling that there are a small number of people who will be unable to deal with the devastation and give up the show.

    I reckon the number of people who will pick up the show, having heard the buzz around the Red Wedding, will exceed the number quitting…but only time will tell. We can safely say though: Season 4, like Season 3, is going to be immense.

  • I think this all but guarantees Maysha can become the highest rated single episode of any show that HBO has ever produced. Lets make it happen people!

  • so this is without episode 10??????

    Honestly though – the Wire was so underrated…. I am not going to lie, I am currently watching the wire on my HBO on demand – I have never watched it before I have one more season left and I am in LOVEEEEEEEEEEE with that show.

    Anyway as much as I love the wire… I am going to have to go with Sopranos first – just because of my love for MA FIA shows LOL and then second would be Game of thrones (GOT may surpass sopranos in my books if my favorite people stop dying at some point LOL jk) and then the wire.

    I am happy GOT is doing so well I hope it stays like that. I am a non-book reader – so I wonder if the rest of the story will keep people so captivated…. You know how some shows at some point it becomes “LIke okay when are you going to end” kinda thing??

  • sunspear:

    Side note: Girls gets a weirdly large amount of viewers from on Demand/HBO Go. That show was getting less than 800,000 viewers live this season.

    Can only speak for myself, but Girls never really compelled me to watch live–it was never something I “had” to watch as soon as it came out, unlike programmes like Thrones. I caught up with an episode or two later, mainly to see what the fuss was about after the awards season. Fun to watch, but not really “OMG MUST WATCH NOW” material.

  • Where is “OZ” (1997-2003) on this list?? People forget it, but that show was pretty darn good as well!

  • A Secret Baratheon,

    For what it’s worth, I suspect the Wire’s viewership has gone up a lot since then. It’s become legendary, and has lost none of its relevance or power.

  • gosensgo,

    (no spoilers). As a book reader, I can tell you that Season 4 will very likely be awesome. After that, things get a bit more sketchy, with significant deviations from the books being necessary. It will be the first major challenge the showrunners D&D will face. So far they seem to be up for it though, and the material from the later books could work very well if they trim the fat and are prepared to make bold changes where necessary.

  • “Rating isn’t a pit. Rating is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail, and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some, given a chance to climb, they refuse. They cling to the realm, or the gods, or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.” :p

  • Family, Duty, Hodor,

    That will definitely be interesting to see. I am super excited. I love GOT, I love fantasy – especially ones that are “period pieces’ even though this is a fake period piecey

  • Honestly, they could count Game of Thrones as their biggest show ever. Internationally, this show is as huge! Literally everyone I know watches this show. Heck, the Red Wedding is buzzing in South Africa!

  • I just love staring at this chart. D&D should make a poster out of it and take it with them to their Season 4 HBO budget meeting.

    We have some EPIC!!! stories coming up. We have more characters to payroll.. ninja/assassin classes can’t be cheap… growing dragons need to eat.. direwolves need to regroup… Stannis has a red witch to support according to her style of living… Theon needs therapy.. Sansa needs a helicopter.. Joffrey needs an exorcism and Daario needs to maintain his hair extensions. This stuff ain’t cheap!

    Love this damn show.. love the books even more! Love YOU WIC!

  • Veltigar,

    Ratings are a curious thing. Whose show wins, whose show dies. Ratings reside where Chief Executives believe they reside. They’re a trick, a shadow on the wall. And a very nerdy fantasy program can cast a very large shadow.

  • This is pretty damn awesome. So glad GoT is clearly doing so well for HBO. May it continue to flourish!
    And while it is sad to see The Wire at such a low place, because it really is the best bit of visual storytelling I’ve ever seen, it does make sense. The Wire is incredible, but it isn’t exactly an easy show to just step into and enjoy. Sure, GoT is quite intricate, but it has swords and fighting and war and sex and exciting visuals to draw in new viewers and help keep their attention through their intial confusion. The Wire doesn’t really have that mass appeal. I’m just happy it got through all the seasons it did.
    Anyway, here’s hoping GoT goes from strength to strength!

  • Family, Duty, Hodor:
    gosensgo,

    Yeah, just make sure you stay away from spoilers. Difficult in the modern internet era, but well worth making the effort.

    Yes…be very careful…even book-readers like myself are sometimes unintentionally spoiled. S4 will be awesome.

    This is such great news!

  • If we take into consideration the pirate watchers and international viewers, Game of Thrones is the biggest premium TV show in the world. People from all corners of the Earth watch it fiercly and passionately.

  • Backslaps and high fives all around! You all helped make this happen. Look at our “little” show go!

  • Game of Thrones has been HBO’s number 1 show since it premiered honestly, even if the numbers took a few years to catch up. And the numbers are still climbing.

    Why I would not be surprised if the series does run 8 or 9 seasons in the end.

  • Was also surprised by how low The Wire was on the list as I really enjoyed that show. Also enjoyed The Sopranos and Rome, and Curb to a lesser extent. My favorites, however are most definately GoT followed closely by Deadwood which I really wish wasn’t cancelled.. still waiting on those 2 movies HBO promised us. Or even better, bring back the show! Cocksuckers!

  • Looks like GoT will be able to complete their storyline, unlike Deadwood, Rome and Carnivale, etc. The Sopranos got 6 Seasons, maybe GoT will one-up it with 7? (yeah, I know George still has 2 books to complete, which may or may not complicate things)

  • The Wire is huge critically and artistically, and has been an inspiration to future shows, I just don’t think that many people have watched it.

  • These numbers plus the buzz surrounding the show plus the international popularity makes GoT a gold mine for HBO. It makes me so happy!

  • Lady Stoneheart is 99% the ending of the season; the cinematographer of the last 2 episodes said: ““I think you’ll agree it goes out on a real high note. There are some scenes there that will provide at least some catharsis for traumatized viewers,” he said. “It has a gorgeous look, with a very uplifting ending.”

  • Game of Thrones has finally ended my Vendetta against HBO for cancelling Deadwood & Rome. I was very close to securing the services of the Faceless Men to seek vengeance.

  • Not surprised, but I really have to watch the Sopranos (and probably The Wire too, according to the people here).
    Oh well.. GOT will be in off-season soon.. I have time… *sad*

  • Also hoping for her appearance as the last image. But this could be Dany’s ‘Mysha’ scene he’s talking about. The Lady Stoneheart reveal should be as much creepy as cathartic.

    Summer Is Coming:
    Lady Stoneheart is 99% the ending of the season; the cinematographer of the last 2 episodes said: ““I think you’ll agree it goes out on a real high note. There are some scenes there that will provide at least some catharsis for traumatized viewers,” he said. “It has a gorgeous look, with a very uplifting ending.”

  • HBO GO had only been around for a few months when True Blood hit its 2010 peak, and it didn’t even exist when Tony Soprano ruled HBO. Video on demand also wasn’t as widely available as it is now back during the era of The Sopranos, nor were DVRs. That makes the numbers for The Sopranos all the more impressive: As big as GoT is, it’s nowhere near the monster hit its Sunday predecessor was (nor has it amassed anywhere near the Emmy haul of David Chase’s show). At least not yet.

    OTOH, HBO was the King of Cable then, where now it has quite a bit of competition, both pay (Showtime) and non-pay (AMC, etc). There are great cable shows everywhere to compete with GoT for viewer interest where Sopranos had…? HBO’s subscriber base is also smaller than it was in the Sopranos heyday although it is difficult to find hard numbers on that.

    I’m not saying their caveats aren’t worth mentioning, but if you’re going to mention only the ones that downplay the ratings it’s not being even-handed.

  • gosensgo:
    so this is without episode 10??????

    Honestly though – the Wire was so underrated…. I am not going to lie, I am currently watching the wire on my HBO on demand – I have never watched it before I have one more season left and I am in LOVEEEEEEEEEEE with that show.

    Anyway as much as I love the wire… I am going to have to go with Sopranos first – just because of my love for MA FIA shows LOL and then second would be Game of thrones (GOT may surpass sopranos in my books if my favorite people stop dying at some point LOL jk) and then the wire.

    I am happy GOT is doing so well I hope it stays like that. I am a non-book reader – so I wonder if the rest of the story will keep people so captivated…. You know how some shows at some point it becomes “LIke okay when are you going to end” kinda thing??

    it’s been announced GOT will have almost seven seasons (if not more) to end .. which means four more seasons to go .. i’m happy to see this amazing show still climbing ”the ladda” and i highly expect it to reach 6m viewers by the season finale.. <3 GOT

  • Hung is really that high? I watched and enjoyed that whole series but at the same time it was a pretty lame show

  • dizzy:
    How the hell is Hung more watched than Curb?

    Bunns of steel via Thomas Jane. TrueBlood owes a similar notoriety for it’s soft porn,
    many refer to a Skarsporn ( Alex Skarsgard ).

    Game of Thrones will eclipse TB easily by next season. really impressed to see
    survey ratings compared to ” The Sopranos”.

    HBO’s , the Wire , is timeless and a thought provoking watch. That news press
    guy really connected with present controversies of fraud as well, accuracy in the
    media has become a joke. There are news checkers that monitor validity of facts,
    not that lying or misrepresentation is a new concept, but fraud is quite blatant now.
    Everything mentioned in the Wire hit home to all aspects of the law, it was also
    the first time I saw Dominic West. He had a lengthy scene with his costar , which
    he mentioned the word ” f**k ” to describe all the information he and his partner
    discovered. That scene was brilliant.

    I wonder where ” Oz ” would appear if survey ratings were done (?)

  • Wow, you’re right, look at googletrends!
    http://www.google.co.uk/trends/explore#q=game%20of%20thrones%2C%20the%20walking%20dead&cmpt=q

    FYI, that’s a bit misleading (and no, not in the “google trends is stupid and meaningless” way). Google trends has a very simple extrapolation algorithm to project what the end figure summed for the week will be. The search pattern is that Monday is huge, and then it rapidly drops off after that. The extrapolation seems to expect Monday to be average, when it is very much not. If you look at a shorter-term view you will see what I mean…

    I expect it will still beat Monday of S3Ep1 but it isn’t going to be quite as spectacular as it seems once the full week is sampled…

  • Because of just how epic the related track is on the soundtrack, I’m almost certain that the final scene is Dany’s Mysha moment.

  • Unfortunately I still don’t know if Game of Thrones is quite as good as The Wire or Six Feet Under. Maybe by the Time it’s had 5 seasons though

  • I wonder how fair it is to compare to Sopranos and GoT. Both were must-see-for-next-day-watercooler-discussion shows, but between websites like WiC.net and Twitter plus all the pirating going on, GoT’s watercooler is global. That’s a huge multiplier in terms of cultural mindshare, so much so that Late Night TV, Hollywood gossip sites, print magazine, newspaper blogs etc. are all now leveraging GoT to market themselves rather than the other way around. Tony Soprano’s exploits did seep into the zeitgeist of the time as well, but much more so in the US than anywhere else.

  • HellFell:
    If we take into consideration the pirate watchers and international viewers, Game of Thrones is the biggest premiumTV show in the world. People from all corners of the Earth watch it fiercly and passionately.

    As a huge fan from the middle east and proudly one of the sullied .. i must say GOT is getting more and more popular here .. as far as i remember, since the beginning of the 1st season, i was the only one who actually watched the series and read the books .. now most of my friends are waiting eagerly for each episode. after watching last week’s episode with my unsullied friend (my heart is still in pain T_T ). he was blown away and decided to read the books :D .. definitely the greatest show in the history of tv series. nothing can top that.

  • Query: Out of the top five in the above chart, which is the only show NOT to have at least one 12 episode (or more) season?

    You know the answer.

    *chanting, “twelve, twelve, twelve …”*

  • Summer Is Coming,

    That cinematographer interview was great, it’s really cool getting that kind of insight into the production of the show, I wish we could hear from that side of things more often. There’s a reason beside the amazing writing and acting that this show is so loved, the production values are such a huge part.

  • This is wonderful news. Let’s not forget that GOT is standing on the shoulders of TB in terms of its success in the genre. Now that GOT has succeeded beyond most of our highest expections, it’s going to have to serve as a springboard for other fantasy series. As I mentioned earlier, the Starz purchase of the time-traveling fantasy/history/adventure series Outlander (from Battlestar Galactica’s Ron Moore) can be logically assumed to be the first GOT stepchild in the premium cable universe. It will be great to see what else is to follow.

  • So awesome.

    I still can’t help laughing at the person who was posting here, right before Season 3 started, saying that GOT has “completely failed to enter the zeitgeist”.

  • Summer Is Coming: ““I think you’ll agree it goes out on a real high note. There are some scenes there that will provide at least some catharsis for traumatized viewers,” he said. “It has a gorgeous look, with a very uplifting ending.”

    Am I the only person who thinks these descriptors CANNOT POSSIBLY be referring to Stoneheart? How is the resurrection of Catelyn’s waterlogged corpse to be a zombie with only revenge on her mind “gorgeous” or “uplifting”? This must be referring to Dany’s Mhysa scene!

  • Gonfaloniere,

    Personally, I see it as more so, even though it’s fucked up, in that it gives the smallest amount of hope to people who support the Starks. I just don’t see the Dany scene as a big enough moment to go out on, IMO, I don’t feel like it would be a cliffhanger in keeping with the past two seasons.

  • Love that my 2 all time favorite shows are at the top of this list, though i will be happy when/if GoT surpasses :)

  • Sorry for a stupid question, but what does the term “total audience” exactly mean in this case? Thanks in advance.

  • Matt,

    I moved back here from Australia few years ago, still have an AU iTunes account. Season 3 Ep’s comes up on the AU iTunes after they air.

  • OhManymous:
    Geekfurious OWNED BITCH – OWNED!

    Huh? How am I owned?

    Wait, because I’ve mentioned that overnight ratings are pointless? BECAUSE THEY ARE. These are overall viewership numbers not overnight ratings. HBO doesn’t care about overnight ratings. They have zero impact on their ability to generate revenue.

    The numbers noted in this article are EXACTLY what I’ve been arguing. These are the important numbers. THESE numbers mean everything to HBO.

    But thanks for demonstrating your massive ignorance.

  • GeekFurious: These are overall viewership numbers not overnight ratings. HBO doesn’t care about overnight ratings.

    Overnight ratings become overall viewership data so it’s nice to celebrate the daily/weekly data that will eventually become the overall data. I have yet to meet a research analyst who doesn’t enjoy the momentum of data that will eventually end in positive results. HBO cares.. and they care even MORE when every talk show spends time celebrating the epicness of one of their shows.

    BTW… I caught your last podcast on the wedding and thought it was entertaining. Railing on your partner for spoiling ice and fire was funny.

  • GeekFurious: Huh? How am I owned?

    Wait, because I’ve mentioned that overnight ratings are pointless? BECAUSE THEY ARE. These are overall viewership numbers not overnight ratings. HBO doesn’t care about overnight ratings. They have zero impact on their ability to generate revenue.

    The numbers noted in this article are EXACTLY what I’ve been arguing. These are the important numbers. THESE numbers mean everything to HBO.

    But thanks for demonstrating your massive ignorance.

    I agree that HBO certainly cares almost exclusively about the overall numbers for their shows, but that doesn’t mean they don’t pay attention to the initial airing numbers. The article itself mentions that HBO also looks at how much “buzz” a show is generating, and higher premiere ratings are usually indicative of “buzz”. Bottom line , this show has broken its own record for a series high initial airing five times this season, with one episode left to go (which is guaranteed to his a series high for the show, making that total number six). I think HBO will take that into consideration, as well, when it comes down to make any decisions in terms of the budget (if that hasn’t already been worked out).

    EDIT: Found this excellent chart as Westeros, created by the user Jon Wat.

    http://img843.imageshack.us/img843/7778/gotf.png

  • Khal-A-Bunga: I agree that HBO certainly cares almost exclusively about the overall numbers for their shows, but that doesn’t mean they don’t pay attention to the initial airing numbers. The article itself mentions that HBO also looks at how much “buzz” a show is generating, and higher premiere ratings are usually indicative of “buzz”. Bottom line , this show has broken its own record for a series high initial airing five times this season, with one episode left to go (which is guaranteed to his a series high for the show, making that total number six). I think HBO will take that into consideration, as well, when it comes down to make any decisions in terms of the budget (if that hasn’t already been worked out).

    I’ve never said they don’t pay attention to them. Of course they do. But only as a PR device. They don’t care about overnight numbers, though. If GOT was pulling 2 million overnight and 13 million overall, you think HBO would suddenly cancel the show?

    Hell no.

    And that’s why reporting overnight numbers for a premium cable show is pointless. Even as a PR stunt. Because the general reader mentality is to gravitate toward BIGGER numbers. And 13 million is much bigger than 5 million.

    Which is why overnight numbers don’t mean anything to HBO. They aren’t why the show has a huge budget. They aren’t why the show will survive for 7+ seasons.

    Edit: Oh and that chart you posted is cool… but is representative of the issue I keep bringing up. HBO is not NBC. Ratings are meaningless to HBO. NBC survives on ratings.

  • When you throw in DVD sales and merchandise this is probably hbo’s most profitable show ever

  • What a shame that “The Wire,” (the greatest show ever although we can and I believe we will have that debate once GOT runs it’s course) Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Treme are at the bottom of the list. People are missing out on television at it’s finest.

  • Network TV makes the vast majority of their revenue on advertisements shown during commercial breaks of their TV shows. They do make some money via Hulu and other online services, but it is virtually nothing when compared to the amount of money made via standard TV viewing. They can also make money on home video sales but a lot of the time the network doesn’t own the show, they just license it from a studio (Big Bang Theory, the biggest show on TV, is not owned by CBS, it is owned by Warner Brothers).

    TV networks make no money when you DVR a show and fast forward past the commercials.

    TV networks make no money when you change channels during the commercials.

    TV networks make no money when you watch on your DVR and fast forward even a second of a commercial.

    “TV ratings” refer to the data that makes networks money.

    HBO, on the other hand, makes money if you are tuning in because it means you have subscribed (or someone subscribed). So it doesn’t care whether you DVR. It doesn’t care if you fast forward, rewind, fast forward and then rewind, or switch channels. YOU WATCHED. That means you are part of their overall percentage of people tuning into the show who PAY FOR THE SERVICE.

    So HBO cares about the overall number. Anything else is totally meaningless when it comes to how much money they are willing to spend per episode, or how many seasons they will give a show.

    HBO doesn’t make money on “TV ratings.” And that’s why they don’t care about those numbers.

  • This is amazing news!

    GRRM and D&D and Cogman and EVERYONE involved in bringing GoT to HBO should be very proud!

    I know this is off topic but please D&D and Cogman and all those big names involved in GoT… After this huge project is finished, use your name and influence to bring more adult epic fantasy-like books/ideas to life…

    People have the wrong idea about fantasy and think it’s all goblins and faeries and good vs evil… LotR type stuff…..

    You all took this preconceived fantasy notion and turned it on it’s head and even family and friends that I know that were never into dungeons and dragons, or hobbits, love this show.

    All I’m asking is you keep going, even after GoT is finished… You carved out a deep notch for yourselves, now please take advantage of that…..

  • The Game of Thrones is a hit because it has all the qualities which make a show a hit: lots of action, great writing and interesting storylines, talented actors to bring the story to life, and it’s a fantasy period drama set in medieval times which is a favorite genre of lots of people. I know many people(my husband included)who have never read the books but love the show so these high numbers do not surprise me one bit! And I think GOT could beat The Sopranos, indeed!

  • Summer Is Coming,
    I don’t know that I’d consider Stoneheart uplifting. I think more likely it will end on Dany’s Mhysa moment. That track on the soundtrack is very emotional and powerful.

  • MUGger:
    Where is “OZ” (1997-2003) on this list?? People forget it, but that show was pretty darn good as well!

    OZ has broken my heart more times than I can count. Oh, Miguel.

  • Tabes,

    The Wire’s great and all, but I don’t understand why some people consider it the best show ever. I enjoy Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Justified (a bit less than the first two, but it’s really great) etc. far more…

  • I hope it ends with Stoneheart, simply for the shock of the scene AND more importantly for me to give another location/group of characters the last scene of the season, we already had Dany ending season 1 and of course the Walking White Walkers in season 2, would seem awkward to have Dany end ANOTHER season so soon.

    But that’s just my five cents.

  • Yago:
    Tabes,

    The Wire’s great and all, but I don’t understand why some people consider it the best show ever. I enjoy Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Justified (a bit less than the first two, but it’s really great) etc. far more…

    If you can’t tell why people consider THE WIRE the best show ever, then there is nothing we can say to change your mind.

    Hell, last night I was in that HuffPost Live chat room and read people crapping on GOT and fantasy in general. Some people just don’t get genius.

  • Remember when Game of Thrones was pitched as The Sopranos in Middle Earth? And here it is now, if not the equal, at least in the conversation with those two great series.

  • James:
    Remember when Game of Thrones was pitched as The Sopranos in Middle Earth?And here it is now, if not the equal, at least in the conversation with those two great series.

    2004 was the 5th season of SOPRANOS. I expect GOT to surpass it by 2015.

  • Am I the only one who doesn’t get the popularity of True Blood? I’ve watched a couple of seasons and sure, it’s dumb fun, but look at all the great shows under it! It’s a B- show at best. No where near GoT. Let’s all hope the ratings stay high for our favorite show!

  • GeekFurious,

    But surely Blackwater’s ratings were important in the decision to delay Rains of Castamere by a week?

    Overall, you make some valid points, but I think you go too far in your argument.

    Also, Stoneheart would be uplifting because at the time, you don’t have a clue that she’s gone crazy. It’s a hint that vengeance might be possible and grieving Unsullied viewers will latch onto it.

  • NathanG:
    Am I the only one who doesn’t get the popularity of True Blood? I’ve watched a couple of seasons and sure, it’s dumb fun, but look at all the great shows under it! It’s a B- show at best. No where near GoT. Let’s all hope the ratings stay high for our favorite show!

    People like True Blood BECAUSE it’s trashy. I’ve never watched it myself, but my wife did for a while. She spent the whole time feeling guilty for enjoying something so deliberately bad :) She’s stopped watching it now though… Something happened that made her draw the line and forget about it… Something about fairies?

  • Except that… This season isn’t quite over? We still have episode 10. So would that, in all probability (if Ep. 10 garners 5 or 6 million views, especially after the hype of the RW), make Season 3 of GOT the most highly viewed season in HBO history, so to say?

  • James:
    Remember when Game of Thrones was pitched as The Sopranos in Middle Earth?And here it is now, if not the equal, at least in the conversation with those two great series.

    I’ve always thought of it as all the most fun parts of Shakespeare’s collected works, but with added Dragons.

    I mean, I see more Titus Andronicus in it and the Henrys/Richards than I do Sopranos OR Middle Earth!

  • Prince of Pentos,

    No, because that graph is of the average audience per episode. Mhysa will probably have the biggest viewing figures of the season but it won’t be enough to overcome The Sopranos’ lead.

  • GeekFurious,

    yea but these numbers mean a lot to the people who do use commercials as their revenue. So the show that is number one in a time slot means a lot to them. No one is arguing that HBO has other ways determine if a show is worth renewing besides Nielsen but other people care. which means it means a great deal that GoT is number one in the time slot. Your constant post that Nielsen does not matter is wrong.

  • Family, Duty, Hodor:
    GeekFurious,

    But surely Blackwater’s ratings were important in the decision to delay Rains of Castamere by a week?

    Overall, you make some valid points, but I think you go too far in your argument.

    Also, Stoneheart would be uplifting because at the time, you don’t have a clue that she’s gone crazy. It’s a hint that vengeance might be possible and grieving Unsullied viewers will latch onto it.

    With respect to delaying the episode a week, HBO knew they had a big episode on hand and wanted the most amount of people possible in front of the TV at the time of the “event”. But it had nothing to do with “ratings”. It had to do with overall viewership. So, you make a good point but it still doesn’t have anything to do with “ratings.”

    This is what I keep raging against with respect to reporting overnight ratings vs overall viewership. Overnight ratings don’t help or hurt GOT. Reporting them is like reporting the price of gasoline to someone driving an electric car.

  • jasonw:
    GeekFurious,

    yea but these numbers mean a lot to the people who do use commercials as their revenue.

    it means a great deal that GoT is number one in the time slot.Your constant post that Nielsen does not matter is wrong.

    HBO doesn’t care about Nielsen ratings. HBO doesn’t make money on commercials. I’m puzzled by your insistence on ignoring that fact.

    Let me say it one more time since it seems some of you aren’t grasping this:

    Nielsen ratings are for COMMERCIAL TELEVISION. The fact that they count HBO is nice but it doesn’t affect HBO. They make money on subscriptions. And their subscriptions have barely budged in years.

  • GeekFurious: HBO doesn’t care about Nielsen ratings. HBO doesn’t make money on commercials. I’m puzzled by your insistence on ignoring that fact.

    Let me say it one more time since it seems some of you aren’t grasping this:

    Nielsen ratings are for COMMERCIAL TELEVISION. The fact that they count HBO is nice but it doesn’t affect HBO. They make money on subscriptions. And their subscriptions have barely budged in years.

    It seems you are not grasping or reading… I don’t know if you are aware but NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, TNT, TBS…the list goes on and i assume you can do a quick google search for network TV stations. All of these stations care about commercials and so they all need people to watch their stations. So they look at this little thing called Nielsen to see how their shows are doing and what shows, not on their network, are doing… So a show, what ever network it is on that is number 1 on Nielsen gets attention by everyone.

    So let me try and say this again since i guess you did not read the comment you quoted… “No one is arguing that HBO has other ways determine if a show is worth renewing besides Nielsen but other people care”

  • GeekFurious,

    I don’t think it’s quite that simple. Sure, the overall viewing figures are considerably more useful than the overnights but that doesn’t make the latter ratings useless. This is because they are naturally correlated with the overall viewing figures and are presumably more readily available.

    Ultimately, an HBO exec is probably not going to care about the ratings. But as people on the outside, we can use the ratings to garner an approximation for the relevant inside knowledge. If we had better data, sure, we should use that. But right now this is all we have, and since the correlation exists, it’s better than nothing.

  • Chickenduck: People like True Blood BECAUSE it’s trashy. I’ve never watched it myself, but my wife did for a while. She spent the whole time feeling guilty for enjoying something so deliberately bad :) She’s stopped watching it now though… Something happened that made her draw the line and forget about it… Something about fairies?

    The first season was sharp, funny, didn’t take itself too seriously, filled with good looking naked people—a nice Sunday night warm-weather mille feuille. It also adhered closely to the book upon which it was adapted in terms of character development and motivation and plotting.

    In Season 2 showrunner Alan Ball began to upend the characters, Mr. Potato-heading them by giving some attributes of a book character to another, turning a minor book character into a deeply uninteresting male lead, resurrecting dead characters, etc. Ball apparently started thinking that the series should be turned into Ball’s exploration of Ball’s own feelings as a marginalized individual, along with Ball’s interest in Buddhism and Jungian teachings, and by Season 3 the whole show began to bear little resemblance to the original material, which had had millions of fans for ten years.

    By Season 4, the whole bloated mess was the laughing stock of TV critics, and long-suffering book fans were at each other’s throats over Book vs. TV show. Season 5, the book fans finally gave up, and even Alan Ball bailed. The new showrunner didn’t last four episodes and a new one was called in and ratings lurch downward.

    Yes, there were fairies in the original material but they were handled very differently, if it matters to anyone. And now, to add insult to injury, the author has put out a final book that has been so badly received that she says she’s gotten death threats.

    Not that there’s anything to be learned from any of this.

  • Khal-A-Bunga: I’m puzzled by your insistence that you know what HBO – as a network – is thinking.

    To be fair, some of his/her comments do come close to echoing comments made by the HBO brass at Upfronts. panel discussion with TV critics, media groups, etc. But HBO’s actual metrics remain a proprietary secret, I believe. Most recently, Lombardo (I think it was) said HBO was not worried at present about downloading episodes cannibalizing subscriptions, although I don’t believe he offered any evidence of why that was.

  • Family, Duty, Hodor: Except even with all that going on, it’s still getting solid ratings:

    Indeed, but the show goes up against some of the weakest programming, across all media outlets, broadcast included, of the entire calendar year and benefits from the strong Game of Thrones lead in for its premiere episode every season.

    It also remains inexpensive to produce—filmed on a Hollywood backlot with a relatively unknown cast—although that has nothing to do with its ratings but a lot to do with profitability.

  • DH87: The first season was sharp, funny, didn’t take itself too seriously, filled with good looking naked people—a nice Sunday night warm-weather mille feuille. It also adhered closely to the book upon which it was adapted in terms of character development and motivation and plotting.

    In Season 2 showrunner Alan Ball began to upend the characters, Mr. Potato-heading them by giving some attributes of a book character to another, turning a minor book character into a deeply uninteresting male lead, resurrecting dead characters, etc. Ball apparently started thinking that the series should be turned intoBall’s exploration of Ball’s own feelings as a marginalized individual, along with Ball’s interest in Buddhism and Jungian teachings, and by Season 3 the whole show began to bear little resemblance to the original material, which had had millions of fans for ten years.

    By Season 4, the whole bloated mess was the laughing stock of TV critics, andlong-suffering book fans were at each other’s throats over Book vs. TV show. Season 5, the book fans finally gave up, and even Alan Ball bailed. The new showrunner didn’t last four episodes and a new one was called in and ratings lurch downward.

    Yes, there were fairies in the original material but they were handled very differently, if it matters to anyone. And now, to add insult to injury, the author has put out a final book that has been so badly received that she says she’s gotten death threats.

    Not that there’s anything to be learned from any of this.

    I understand the comparison you’re making, but as I understand it (this is all second hand info though, as I’ve neither seen the show nor read the books) True Blood went WAY further off the books than GoT has.

    Secondly, going off the books doesn’t automatically make a TV show bad. See Dexter for details – for all that it cops a bit of flak for trying to drag out the suspension of disbelief a bit too far, it’s WAAAAAAAAAY better than the books it was based on, which from about book 3 went from mediocre to terrible (apologies to any fans of the books here).

    Then there are examples like Kubrik’s Clockwork Orange. Terrible as an adaptation. Completely missed the point of the book. Criticised (probably fairly) by many as leaving out the philosophical meaning in favour of the gratuitous violence.

    …But still a brilliant movie and a landmark in cinematic history in its own right, even if it was, strictly speaking, an awful adaptation!!

    Regarding your last point, I guess we just wait and see whether WoW is as good as the first 3 novels, or as tangled as the 4th and 5th.

  • jasonw: It seems you are not grasping or reading… I don’t know if you are aware but NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, TNT, TBS…the list goes on and i assume you can do a quick google search for network TV stations.All of these stations care about commercials and so they all need people to watch their stations.So they look at this little thing called Nielsen to see how their shows are doing and what shows, not on their network, are doing… So a show, what ever network it is on that is number 1 on Nielsen gets attention by everyone.

    So let me try and say this again since i guess you did not read the comment you quoted…“No one is arguing that HBO has other ways determine if a show is worth renewing besides Nielsen but other people care”

    You have no idea what you are talking about.

  • Family, Duty, Hodor:
    GeekFurious,

    I don’t think it’s quite that simple. Sure, the overall viewing figures are considerably more useful than the overnights but that doesn’t make the latter ratings useless. This is because they are naturally correlated with the overall viewing figures and are presumably more readily available.

    Ultimately, an HBO exec is probably not going to care about the ratings. But as people on the outside, we can use the ratings to garner an approximation for the relevant inside knowledge. If we had better data, sure, we should use that. But right now this is all we have, and since the correlation exists, it’s better than nothing.

    If GOT was on AMC or NBC or SyFy, then ratings would mean something. It is on HBO. Ratings are not important to HBO. Ratings will never be important to HBO. Ratings ONLY measure the data advertisers will pay for and not total viewership.

    HBO executives laugh at ratings because they never have to worry about them.

    The only reason HBO even notes TV ratings is to say “Hey look, we don’t even care about these but we are beating your commercial shows in these meaningless ratings. Teehee.”

  • DH87,

    Sure, and I understand that. I understand how the ratings work very well in fact, but I think it’s a bit presumptuous to say with absolutely certainty that they “don’t care” about the Nielsen numbers. I’m sure someone at HBO does, and since when have good ratings ever been bad news? I’m sure they don’t make any decisions on budgeting, renewals, or anything else really with the information, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t something they’re interested in altogether. And for those of us who like to discuss these things (which obviously includes him), I don’t see what the big issue with. Unless it’s a shtick, like ‘ANGRYGoTFAN’.

    Also, here’s an awesome cover of The Rains of Castamere:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvMhyO51Jv0

    And also again, True Blood isn’t all that terrible if you accept it for the pulp fiction that it is. The first three seasons were actually quite good, and the fourth is the only one I would call outright bad (though last season came close, it ultimately worked out). It’s better than The Walking Dead, at least.

  • Chickenduck: I understand the comparison you’re making, but as I understand it (this is all second hand info though, as I’ve neither seen the show nor read the books) True Blood went WAY further off the books than GoT has.

    True, but the “book purists” in that fandom who began raising concerns in TB Season 2 met with vitriol and were shouted down (sound familiar?). Show defenders said, “Let the ratings speak for themselves. Alan Ball is a genius.” As the show began to suffer from a bloated cast, awkward dialogue, repetitive plot devices and violations of its own world rules, its defenders became less vocal, critics more hostile, and purists left the fandom in disgust. Less committed fans followed.

    It was completely unnecessary. The cast was great and the show started out with a witty, tongue-in-cheek sass that was fun to watch. Everyone says D&D won’t fall into that trap, and I hope they don’t, but it caught an industry veteran and Academy award winner. Just a cautionary tale.

  • DH87: True, but the “book purists” in that fandom who began raising concerns in TB Season 2 met with vitriol and were shouted down (sound familiar?). Show defenders said, “Let the ratings speak for themselves. Alan Ball is a genius.” As the show began to suffer from a bloated cast, awkward dialogue, repetitive plot devices and violations of its own world rules, its defenders became less vocal, critics more hostile, and purists left the fandom in disgust. Less committed fans followed.

    It was completely unnecessary. The cast was great and the show started out with a witty, tongue-in-cheek sass that was fun to watch. Everyone says D&D won’t fall into that trap, and I hope they don’t, but it caught an industry veteran and Academy award winner. Just a cautionary tale.

    Though, GOT season 3 has the biggest departures from the book and is only getting better. Critics love it. Book fans (like me) love the show. Sure, some hardcore types may be complaining but when did hardcore types represent anything but the tiniest minority?

  • Khal-A-Bunga:
    DH87,

    Sure, and I understand that. I understand how the ratings work very well in fact, but I think it’s a bit presumptuous to say with absolutely certainty that they “don’t care” about the Nielsen numbers. I’m sure someone at HBO does, and since when have good ratings ever been bad news? I’m sure they don’t make any decisions on budgeting, renewals, or anything else really with the information, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t something they’re interested in altogether.

    Someone over there may care on some superficial level. However, the people at HBO I’ve known are very flippant about it. They are proud to exist outside of the Nielsen grind. They look down on those who care.

    It is not presumptuous if it is accurate.

  • GeekFurious: Though, GOT season 3 has the biggest departures from the book and is only getting better. Critics love it. Book fans (like me) love the show. Sure, some hardcore types may be complaining but when did hardcore types represent anything but the tiniest minority?

    I think last season had the biggest departures by far, with the Talisa and Qarth storylines, plus Arya’s interaction with Tywin. Nothing else this season compares, and if anything with the introduction of Riverrun and the Tullys they’ve brought it back closer to the books.

  • GeekFurious: Though, GOT season 3 has the biggest departures from the book and is only getting better. Critics love it. Book fans (like me) love the show. Sure, some hardcore types may be complaining but when did hardcore types represent anything but the tiniest minority?

    One thing GOT does have is a more direct connection to the show’s most ardent fans. If anyone of Bryan C.’s stature had come to the TB forums and boards (there are hundreds of them) and shown that the TB showrunners were at least aware of fans’ concerns instead of spouting ridiculous, downright insulting bait-and-switch cr*p, the show might have turned itself around.

    AB said he never listened to fan input. I wonder how that’s working for him now? Is Banshee burning up the old airwaves? At least we know Bryan is reading our rantings, on occasion, when not reading Pat the Bunny aloud at home.

  • GeekFurious: If GOT was on AMC or NBC or SyFy, then ratings would mean something. It is on HBO. Ratings are not important to HBO. Ratings will never be important to HBO. Ratings ONLY measure the data advertisers will pay for and not total viewership.

    HBO executives laugh at ratings because they never have to worry about them.

    The only reason HBO even notes TV ratings is to say “Hey look, we don’t even care about these but we are beating your commercial shows in these meaningless ratings. Teehee.”

    Did you even read his post? He’s not saying that the HBO execs care, he’s saying that the numbers give us, the fans, a useful indicator as to viewership levels in the absence of anything else.

  • Steven Swanson: I think last season had the biggest departures by far, with the Talisa and Qarth storylines, plus Arya’s interaction with Tywin. Nothing else this season compares, and if anything with the introduction of Riverrun and the Tullys they’ve brought it back closer to the books.

    I would agree – Season 2 of GoT strayed much further from the book than Season 3 did (the biggest change being Talisa, but as said she was really a S2 invention).

    It’s actually remarkably close to the source by TV standards (compared with TB (I’m told), Dexter etc).

  • DH87: One thing GOT does have is a more direct connection to the show’s most ardent fans. If anyone of Bryan C.’s stature had come to the TB forums and boards (there are hundreds of them) and shown that the TB showrunners were at least aware of fans’ concerns instead of spouting ridiculous,downright insulting bait-and-switch cr*p, the show might have turned itself around.

    AB said he never listened to fan input. I wonder how that’s working for him now? Is Banshee burning up the old airwaves? At least we know Bryan is reading our rantings, on occasion, when not reading Pat the Bunny aloud at home.

    That’s an interesting note you bring up… Hadn’t thought/didn’t know about that. Thank you, ser.

    I think D&D are fairly aware of the need to give some fan service. For all that they have had to make some changes, and taken chances on other aspects that are debatable whether they worked out or not, I have appreciated some of the Easter Eggs such as Tyrion’s reference to the “Meereeneese Knot”, the undiscussed bread and salt, the big mustachioed dude with a mermaid pin next to Robb at the Red Wedding, etc etc etc…

  • JD:
    Love that my 2 all time favorite shows are at the top of this list, though i will be happy when/if GoT surpasses :)

    same here, though if i had to choose between sopranos and got it would be like choosing between my left and right nut. absolutely love them both.

  • Chickenduck: Easter Eggs such as Tyrion’s reference to the “Meereeneese Knot”, the undiscussed bread and salt, the big mustachioed dude with a mermaid pin next to Robb at the Red Wedding, etc etc etc…

    And one of the stillborn sons of Stannis being called Edric. ;)

  • Veltigar,

    “Rating isn’t a pit. Rating is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail, and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some, given a chance to climb, they refuse. They cling to the realm, or the gods, or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.” :p

    Nicely done. XD

  • Hooray for GoT! The chances of this show being cancelled before the creators want to end it are basically zero now. It’s telling that HBO released this information themselves. They’re clearly planning to stick to it, even if ratings drop during Season 5 (I love Books 4 AND 5, but they will be tricky to adapt to television)

  • The Kingslayer:
    The Wire still is the best show ever. and then The Sopranos, Breaking Bad and only then the GoT. at least for me

    I’m not a TV person, or really tuned into much in the way of media (80hr/wk type job + + life) but if The Wire was so good, how come I never heard of it until reading about it here on WIC? I watched 2 episodes recently and agree its great and want to see more. But maybe word just didn’t get out?
    Well this is just anecdotal. Like I said, media hermit or some such

  • Great News, Game of Thrones is definitely the best series in HBO, IMO the best in the world

  • An “open letter” to GeekFurious:

    GeekFurious, you have dwindled into the abbys of trollersland by now. Sure there’s some sense to what you’ve been saying, up to some level. However, your inability to just admit other people are right in that the weekly ratings matter to HBO as well to some level speaks of severe overestimation of your own opinion. Speaking like you know exactly what goes on in HBO’s headquarters and “miscomprehending” what other people say are other indicators of the same problem.
    Then again, maybe I do you wrong, maybe you’re not a troll as you don’t do it deliberately? In that case, try reading other people’s posts again and try to do so with an open mind. Who knows, maybe you suddenly come to realize that your own opinion is also just an opinion and not, as it must seem in your own mind, the black&white truth.
    One is never too old to change, good luck! (the latter is just my opinion though, so of course you can prove me wrong by “misunderstanding” what I wrote)

  • NathanG:
    Am I the only one who doesn’t get the popularity of True Blood? I’ve watched a couple of seasons and sure, it’s dumb fun, but look at all the great shows under it! It’s a B- show at best. No where near GoT. Let’s all hope the ratings stay high for our favorite show!

    Nope, I don’t get its popularity either. When it first started to play on TV where I live there was a lot of Buzz about it. A briliant show the critics said, which made deep points about racisme and had a very enticing story. Based on their opinion I watched the entire first season and it was awful. Bad acting, annoying accents, gay vampires (at least the ones in Twilight sparkle), weak story and not thought provoking at all. It wasn’t even enjoyable as a guilty pleasure.

  • Mike Chair: 12

    I agree with you. I know that it’s the most expensive show to make but a two hour long pilot is something this show could use (not that I didn’t enjoy episode 1 & 2 but it would have been nice to be able to start quicker with the actual story).

  • MVD,

    The Wire’s a tough show to get into. The first episodes don’t exactly suck you in and it is VERY slow at first. If you just make it to episode six or so you’ll be hooked, though. It’s legend only started growing after it ended – count me in as another viewer who only watched the whole thing after it had finished its run.

  • The biggest take away from this article is that The Wire was arguably the most criminally under watched show of all time!

    I LOVE GoT, but The Wire is better than GoT, it’s better than the Sopranos, it’s better than any other TV show. It’s complex and harshly realistic in a way that’s hard for a lot of people to get into… doesn’t change the fact that it’s the best TV show ever made.

  • DH87,

    Couple of things about True Blood:

    -Just going by what I’ve seen on the internet, Most people did still like Season 2, and Season 3 had quite a few defenders. It was Season 4 that really went off the rails. And I think that people in general think Season 5 was a little better.

    -True Blood isn’t that cheap to make, unless your going by GoT standards. They have a lot of CGI effects.

    GeekFurious,

    He’s saying that other TV networks care about GoT ratings because they want to know how much of an audience it is stealing from them. That isn’t exactly a controversial statement.

    Two other reasons that HBO would tangentially care about initial ratings:

    -They correlate to overall viewership and are available sooner.

    -They generate press for the show.

  • James,

    Interesting. But yeah, I was also highlighting that the South African viewership is pretty large.

  • I hope GoT beats Sopranos. I don’t like that show because their awful use of black people. I know that the The Wire never gets high ratings, but it’s that low?!? Man, what I wouldn’t give for my niggas to be higher on that chart.

  • The Today Show just said Ryan Seacrest is interviewing GRRM this morning. I hope George keeps his hat on. THIS. Is American Tolkien.

  • http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainment/television/Vancouver+cinematographer+reveals+Game+Thrones/8489181/story.html

    I found this quote at the end of the article to be quite interesting…

    “Game of Thrones fans numbed by the massacre may feel better once they’ve seen the season finale, McLachlan said.”

    “I think you’ll agree it goes out on a real high note. There are some scenes there that will provide at least some catharsis for traumatized viewers,” he said. “It has a gorgeous look, with a very uplifting ending.”

    dDoes this mean we get: 1. Sansa fleeing KL with LF, Balon’s death, Joffrey’s death, Sam and Bran meeting, Arya getting back Needle, UnCat?

  • gosensgo,

    Episode 10 of Game of Thrones would need:

    144 – 13.6*9 = 21.6

    million viewers for it to exceed The Sopranos’ average. That’s not going to happen.

    Dan Spicer,

    It will be Dany’s Mhysa scene followed by Uncat, most probably. Certainly won’t be PW or Sansa escaping KL. Too soon. Sam and Bran will also meet and Balon Greyjoy will die.

  • GeekFurious,

    They’re trying to say that HBO does care about the prestige of having a top rated show to drive up subscriptions, even if the ratings mean nothing since HBO doesn’t run commercial advertisements. (Although they do sure like to run their own commercials.)

  • Chickenduck,

    My favorite Easter Egg, and evidence that they do read the fan message boards, was “pig shit.”

    gosensgo,

    It hasn’t. That was speculation by someone working on the show, so not a completely unfounded estimate, but nowhere near official or confirmed.

  • Spencer,

    Not much higher. Most of the people that go over to a friends house or use a friend go login or download would have seen te show and even if they heard great stuff about wouldn’t have subscribed to hbo to watch it. Movie rental outlets (netflix’s DVD service) are the ones hurt by this activity more than hbo. In any case in the age of illegal downloads quality tv seems to be thriving, giving the lie to the claim that such activators would kill everything but low budget reality tv. Further, I don’t think the thrive of tv and illegal downloading is unrelated. I think, counter intuitively, it has spurred on the growth of quality tv. As these companies need to find a way to get people to tune, they accomplish this by showing people the value in their product by producing quality work (this is not a fully fleshed out idea but I think something along these lines are happening).

  • great news, but it a shame breaking bad isn’t on this list and why not the show seems so popular

  • MVD,

    The Wire is a bit like Arrested Development, in that basically nobody watched it while it was airing, but it was a critical success and people have been discovering it more and more since it went off the air. I am a big TV person (entertainment media person, really) and The Wire has come up increasingly frequently in any conversations about high quality TV that I have over the last couple of years, even without me being the one to bring it up.

  • It’s amazing seeing how popular Game of Thrones is growing when it used to be something where I was the only one of my friends obsessed about it and now they’re all discovering it and becoming hooked

    but The Sopranos’ highest rated season was 2002, and they plummeted quickly in 2004, so if we become the leader of that chart next season, we won’t necessarily be the most popular HBO series in America

    although having said that GoT is probably already the most popular internationally

  • outdoorcats,

    Delta1212

    Thanks, I see there’s actually some TV worth watching now. Unlike The Wire, I have heard of Arrested Dev and considered seeing it when it aired, but until GOT, never paid for a premium channel in my life, heck I did not buy a TV until I was in my 30’s and have long felt guilty for taking the time to watch more than an hour or two of TV a week. So I am looking forward to adding something to the shelf to enjoy.

  • outdoorcats:
    MVD,

    The Wire’s a tough show to get into. The first episodes don’t exactly suck you in and it is VERY slow at first. If you just make it to episode six or so you’ll be hooked, though. It’s legend only started growing after it ended – count me in as another viewer who only watched the whole thing after it had finished its run.

    Agreed. First three are pretty tough, and for a while the characters keep you at arm’s length. It then picks up, though, and the rest of it is devastating and awesome. It was a criminally-underwatched show when it was on (by me as well), and to me it and Deadwood are the only ones that exceed GoT in terms of quality (the Sopranos at its best maybe does, but it also ended up with a lot of filler).

    By this point, I put Game of Thrones up there with everything else, with the exceptions of the best Deadwood stuff and The Wire. Justified isn’t too far behind that, for that matter.

  • Delta1212:
    Chickenduck,

    My favorite Easter Egg, and evidence that they do read the fan message boards, was “pig shit.”

    gosensgo,

    It hasn’t. That was speculation by someone working on the show, so not a completely unfounded estimate, but nowhere near official or confirmed.

    What was the pig shit Easter Egg? I mean, I remember Bronn referring to it, of course, and them colloquially calling Wildfire “pig shit,” but I think I’m forgetting something…

  • A Secret Baratheon:
    It’s genuinely upsetting how low on that list The Wire is. :-(

    THE WIRE has sold a lot on DVD though. In the UK it was reported that more than 2 million box sets had been sold (400,000 per season). Considering there’s only 35 million households, that’s quite impressive and must be down almost entirely to world of mouth.

    Milk:
    When you throw in DVD sales and merchandise this is probably hbo’s most profitable show ever

    I’ve heard from HBO that GAME OF THRONES accounts for more than 75% of all of HBO’s merchandising revenue.

  • Somewhat off topic (though not more so than other recent posts): I hope this news persuades HBO to offer a good chunk of change for the rights to WILD CARDS, so they can turn it into what it should be: a tv series.

    I know they’re planning to turn it into a movie for SyFy or whoever, but come on: that’s dumb, and destined for development hell besides. It’s a 20+ book alternate history of the late twentieth – early 21st century, full of funny historical details, lots of freaky sex and freakier violence, plus with superpowers, alien invasions, et cetera. Done right it could be Mad Men crossed with True Blood and a splash of X-Men; an addictively frothy summer entertainment.

  • I still love True Blood up to this point, but to each their own. It’s ALWAYS been nothing more than entertaining trash, and these last two seasons weren’t any different.

  • Yay!!!! GeekFurious take a bow, you earned it! A thanks is in order to the people making this wonderful series, and also to ALL the viewers (Sullied and Unsullied) who keep the show on the road!

    Thanks to HBO, and stay with this project, you won’t be sorry!

  • GeekFurious is completely right.
    I don’t understand why it’s so hard for everyone to understand his point.

  • GreatJon of Slumber,

    You’re probably not. It isn’t from the books. During season 1, in the scene where the peasants come to Ned for help because the Mountain has been pillaging their villages, the old man doing the talking said their children had been covered in pitch and set on fire.

    One of the Unsullied from the widely-read TWoP thread heard “pig shit” rather than pitch and the flammability of pig shit briefly turned into a joke on there.

    Cue season 2, which they would have been writing around the time season 1 aired, and Bronn accuses wildfire of being pig shit.

    Coincidence?

  • Just to put it into perspective,I’m a viewer/reader from Egypt and I was on the beach yesterday. A few friends I was with were discussing the show, and the most stereotypical jock I know, who never read a book if he wasn’t forced to, was sitting in a corner reading the first book. A normal outing isn’t normal if there is no game of thrones talk nowadays.

  • Delta1212:
    GreatJon of Slumber,

    You’re probably not. It isn’t from the books. During season 1, in the scene where the peasants come to Ned for help because the Mountain has been pillaging their villages, the old man doing the talking said their children had been covered in pitch and set on fire.

    One of the Unsullied from the widely-read TWoP thread heard “pig shit” rather than pitch and the flammability of pig shit briefly turned into a joke on there.

    Cue season 2, which they would have been writing around the time season 1 aired, and Bronn accuses wildfire of being pig shit.

    Coincidence?

    Aaaah, yes. That would make sense.

  • We should remember that these numbers are confined to individual seasons and may not reflect the ranking of most popular over the lifetime of the show. The seasons listed were/are the high-water marks: by definition, all of these shows scored lower ratings in previous/subsequent seasons.

    Thus, WiC, it may not be correct to say that this is a list of the most popular currently-airing shows (by cumulative data). However, it probably isn’t coincidental that two of the bottom three shows listed above, Treme and Eastbound and Down, are in their last year on HBO.

  • Daniel: I don’t understand why it’s so hard for everyone to understand his point.

    Because there does seem to be a correlation between first-time numbers and long-term success on HBO. Shows that don’t find a first-time-viewing audience seem to disappear more quickly than those that do. Otherwise, the Sopranos would have been cancelled rather than run for seven years, True Blood wouldn’t be heading for a Season 7, the Entourage boys would be still cruising around L.A., and Treme and Eastbound and Down would not be in their final seasons.

  • DH87,

    I mean, this is only partially true. The Sopranos won a lot of awards, and prestige is certainly more important to HBO than ratings. Agreed on True Blood, though. Treme would have been cancelled after the first episode on a broadcast network, and after the first season anywhere else, so it’s not fair to say that it would be getting more seasons if it were getting better ratings. David Simon planned for four seasons initially, and that’s what he’ll end up with, even though it’ll be a shortened final season. And the numbers for Eastbound & Down have nothing to do with this being the last season. The show has already had a ‘final’ season once already, but was brought back because Danny McBride had an idea for a better way to end things. And, in general, the ratings for their half hour programs matter very little.

    That said, if you look at HBO’s history with half hour shows, it’s some of the most eclectic and fantastic material you’ll find on television, so I’m always excited to see what they’ll do next in that arena. The second season of Enlightened is still the best show I’ve seen all year (always wait until a season is finished before making any concrete decisions on how I feel), and between Veep, Family TreeVice, and Game of Thrones, HBO has easily had the best line-up of original programs since the latter show started.

  • DH87,

    Yes, but GeekFurious is basically running around screaming “Correlation does not equal causation!” Which can be a little annoying, and doesn’t change the fact that I like seeing the overnights, but is still, strictly speaking, true.

  • People are really surprised at The Wire’s low numbers?

    I thought it was common knowledge that nobody ever watched that incredible show until after it ended?! Might have helped if they’d gotten the bunches of emmys they deserved…

  • For anyone still interested, this article on Vulture.com, breaks down the first-viewing, repeat, multiple-channel, HBO Go and other delivery avenues that are often discussed/challenged/questioned here:

    http://www.vulture.com/2013/06/game-of-thrones-huge-ratings-chart.html

    It also divulges that some shows’ ratings weren’t included because they were lower than Treme’s, including Enlightened and How to Make it in America. Neither, coincidentally, I’m sure, is any longer on the channel.

    HBO is claiming the GOT audience is split 57/43 male/female, TB (from other sources) is 48/52.

  • DH87,

    That Skarsporn will up the female quotient ( ante ) every time , LMAO.
    To be fair, I understand “Prince Valiant Moyers ” has his que of groupies too.

  • I don’t know whats become more amusing. It is how people are still giving GeekFurious attention? Or it is how futile it has become for him to explain such a simple concept of subscription-based TV to others?

    Although I am a little heart-broken over them not comparing anything to Oz.

  • WildSeed:
    DH87,

    That Skarsporn will up the female quotient ( ante ) every time , LMAO.
    To be fair, I understand “Prince Valiant Moyers ” has his que of groupies too.

    Just keeping Khal Drogo alive past Season 1 would have increased female viewership by six percent. :)

  • Well, Starz didn’t learn a lesson with Camelot it appears. They’re going to start airing The White Queen in August, a mostly fictional period program based on historical ‘fact.’ Its setting is 1464 England, or, the same general time that the just cancelled Showtime program The Borgias took place.

    The linked EW blurb below goes so far as to question readers if it will be “the next Game of Thrones.” There are many things that set GoT apart from these actual historical programs and that isn’t even considering the production quality. Until proven wrong I’m going to assume it will be another poorly cast, acted, and weakly written program that attempts to hide its inadequacies and draw viewers with sex. GoT has its share of sex and nudity, but it’s never been a cover for other issues.

    http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/06/07/the-white-queen-starz-trailer-exclusive/

  • Delta1212:
    DH87,

    Yes, but GeekFurious is basically running around screaming “Correlation does not equal causation!” Which can be a little annoying, and doesn’t change the fact that I like seeing the overnights, but is still, strictly speaking, true.

    I don’t mind being annoying as long as I am accurate. :)

    And since I have never much cared about people getting mad at me, I’ll keep pointing it out.