News

Game of Thrones Season 4 premieres to record ratings

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The numbers are in! James Hibberd of Entertainment Weekly reports that last night’s premiere episode of Season 4 garnered Game of Thrones’ biggest audience yet.

Returning to an initial viewing of 6.6 million, and ending the night at 8.2 million after two replays, Two Swords marks HBO’s biggest episode of television since The Sopranos’ series finale in 2007.

Beating out Season 3’s 4.4 million debut, as well as it’s 5.5 million sixth episode peak, if the premiere is any indication, Season 4 is looking to be a banner year.

Also, this morning, we launched WIC Live! If you didn’t get a chance to tune in for the live stream, you can watch the entire episode after the jump.


“Winter Is Coming Live” Game of Thrones, Season 4 recap show: Two Swords by Winter Is Coming

132 Comments

  • Did anybody else wonder how fast it must have taken Westerosi sculptures to carve that statue of a triumphant Joffery standing on a dead wolf? Bastard.

  • 6.6? Last week weren’t we guessing when (and maybe if) it would get to 6? Nice!

    btw, hasn’t it always taken until Tuesday to get the numbers?

  • Clob,

    During season premieres and finales, the numbers are usually posted the following day. Not just for this show, but a lot of cable shows.

    Amazing numbers, and good numbers for Silicon Valley & Veep, as well. Definitely one of the strongest overall nights HBO has had in a while, in what has already been a strong year for them. Looking forward to the premiere of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver in a couple weeks.

  • I expect a dip in episode 2 but then a huge leap in episode 3. Episode 2’s buzz will lift episode 3 IMO

  • Had a feeling we might see a bump this year, but did not expect THAT big a bump!

    Congratulations to HBO, D&D, and all of the hard-working folks associated with the show.

    Oh yeah, and that GRRM guy must be pretty happy (and hopefully motivated) too…

  • Since I predicted GoT had maxed out, first night ratings-wise, I’m happy to have been wrong.

  • Those are fantastic numbers, and I don’t think they’ve hit their ceiling yet. Other television producers should look out – there’s a new king in town. All pretenders to the Throne should tread lightly, and perhaps not schedule any programs that they have high hopes for at 9 P.M. on Sunday evenings this spring. You come at the king, you best not miss.

  • I think we can expect some numbers inflation because this was a “free” HBO weekend, allowing lots of viewers to tune in who may not be subscribers. Next week will probably give us a better HBO subscribers-only rating and probably a better idea of what to expect from the coming season.

  • wow! great news! Game of Thrones is very close of becoming HBO’s crown jewel! S1 had 2 mill, S2 had 3 mill, S3 had 4 mill and now a jump of over 2 mill… just wow! and hbo go just crashed and crumbled! the last thing to show up is the all-around numbers, which I believe will reach over 16 mill.

    Game of Thrones is simply the best telev… is just the greatest. ever. point.

  • Jaehaerys:
    I think we can expect some numbers inflation because this was a “free” HBO weekend, allowing lots of viewers to tune in who may not be subscribers.Next week will probably give us a better HBO subscribers-only rating and probably a better idea of what to expect from the coming season.

    Nope, free viewers are never counted. Next week will almost certainly see a drop off though.

  • WeirwoodTreeHugger,

    I know right? I wonder how long it will take other networks or even movie studios to try and capitalise on the hype events such as The Red Wedding can create? Ofcourse, then it will be forced and contrived, but still… I got a feeling it will catch on. The Marvel movies sure could use a surprise…

  • This gets me particularly excited for the season five premiere ratings (jumping the gun just a bit; I know), considering this season will only continue to get better as it goes along. Really impressive number, the more I think about it. It’s essentially doubled the premiere numbers for the third season. I suspect that one the cumulative ratings across all platforms come in, HBO will announce that the show has surpassed The Sopranos as the most-watched series in network history. Craziness.

  • Great numbers, great news. Especially now that we KNOW – because D&D have expressly said so – that HBO execs do take a very close look at the numbers, as do D&D themselves. 6.6 million arguments for a season 5!

  • Fantastic! I wonder if GoT will even come close to 8 mil this year after that start.

    Just as a reference, the Sopranos finale drew 11.9 million, and peaked at 13.43 in the fourth season premiere.

  • Wow ! I was expecting a rise and surely above 6 millions but 6.6 millions, it’s huge. I wasn’t thinking this season can attain that before episode 9 or 10. The fact to not have TWD finale in competition must have helped but also the hype is stronger than ever. The Sopranos will be beat in the overall audience for the week pretty easily it’s sure.

    I’m so happy for it and the premiere was actually better than previous seasons (and they were good). It’s at 9.4 on IMDB (8.9 for the pilot, 8.8 for the premiere of seasons 2 and 3). Also, I expect the series to become the highest rated TV show on IMDB overtaking Breaking Bad (9.6 against 9.5). I’m not counting Planet Earth and Cosmos as classic TV show. Episode 2, 8, 9 and 10 are assured to be extremely high rated. Others episodes should be great too.

    I hope people will flock to the episode 2 in live airing too (they don’t know to watch it live to avoid spoilers as usual for episode 9). I expect a small dip for The Lion and The Rose. But with the enormous buzz of episode 2, episode 3 should go high too and beat that record. That’s the advantage of this season, more than the episode 9 to melt the Internet. The final streak of episodes 8, 9 and 10 should be enormous (with a series over 7 millions by then I think and would can maybe pass 7.5 or 8 millions).

    Also, Silicon Valley realy enjoyed the success of its lead-in. Good for it, I haven’t seen it yet but apparently it’s good so I hope it’ll keep the viewers. That kind of news raises expectations to the series premiere of The Leftovers. The next HBO drama will be launched after the GOT finale so it should do big numbers too.

  • I know its only a formality at this point, but I’m guessing we should soon hear word of Season 5 officially being picked up. Its usually the day or two after the premiere, no?

  • BlackTalon:
    Great numbers, great news. Especially now that we KNOW – because D&D have expressly said so – that HBO execs do take a very close look at the numbers, as do D&D themselves. 6.6 million arguments for a season 5!

    They care about total viewers. As if anyone needed someone to confirm that… it’s how they justify spending tons of money on the show.

  • Remember all those people who were sure the show would lose viewers because of the Red Wedding! Hahahahaha!

  • Wow!! Are we SURE the free views aren’t counted, though?

    If they aren’t I’m really, really impressed. I suppose HBO have garnered a fair amount of new subscribers – in large thanks to GoT – but still.

    Bodes well for Daznak’s pit next year, huh? We should have yet another budget increase after this season.

  • GeekFurious: They care about total viewers. As if anyone needed someone to confirm that… it’s how they justify spending tons of money on the show.

    I think they even care also about data that we don’t have as the raise of subscriptions that they have when GOT is on air, the full DVD/BR sales, the international prices. But anyway, GOT is hugely profitable as they keep raising the budget every year. The season 5 is sure. I also hope it will be longer than 10 episodes(12 or 13) to present all AFFC/ADWD in one season as it seems to be the plan while doing it justice and not rushing it too much. It would require a delay of season 5 but it can go to the summer and take True Blood spot.

  • This is what happens when we combine a quality product, a massive marketing campaign, residual buzz from the Red Wedding, and not having to compete against the Walking Dead season finale. Good job, HBO.

  • It’s safe to say Game Of Thrones chopped True Blood’s head off long ago, but this just confirms it.

  • Love the numbers! I would expect high ratings next week as well. This first episode laid out the promise of what’s to come. There’s an in house and BOLD threat to the Lannisters… the Hound is on a chicken eating rampage… Arya is working on her bucket list… the Thenns are scary as all get out… when Tormund gets the heebie jeebies.. well that’s something to consider. …and the dragons are being naughty!

    I’m going to love this season!

  • Here is some HBO love and well deserved! Who else would take a chance with this material? Now it is time to push for Emmy recognition – writing, directing and best drama categories. (And of course, the superb actors)

  • Davos:
    It will be even higher next week, since Stannis is in that episode!

    Your name makes me imagine the real Davos saying that to people IRL, trying to generate Stannis hype. I love it.

  • Patchy Face,

    the problem there is that the cast is so huge, support actors in other shows have more screentime then “main” actors in GoT.
    The big one to get is best drama, but i am afraid the bias against fantasy will get into the way.

  • Season 5 is a given. Time to start pounding for more season 5 episodes or at least a 2 hr. premier and/or 2 hr. finale.

  • Michael Tschuertz:
    Patchy Face,

    the problem there is that the cast is so huge, support actors in other shows have more screentime then “main” actors in GoT.
    The big one to get is best drama, but i am afraid the bias against fantasy will get into the way.

    Yeah you’re right it’s clearly disadvantaged by its huge set of characters for that. I would like to have the “Best Ensemble Cast” award in the Golden Globes and Emmys. GOT would totally take it.

    For best drama, if it doesn’t have it this season, I don’t know what they want. But does the second part of season 5 of Breaking Bad count for the next Emmys ? If so, GOT has already lost.

  • Mike Chair: Season 5 is a given. Time to start pounding for more season 5 episodes or at least a 2 hr. premier and/or 2 hr. finale.

    Not gonna happen. They’re struggling as it is to make 10 hours a season. And next one will not be easier than this one – probably harder.

  • Boojam:
    Anybody know why episodes 8,9 and 10 don’t have title names yet?

    8. The Mountain and the Viper
    9. The Watchers on the Wall
    10. The Children.

    According to Latin America HBO.

  • Nice. If last night’s ep was any indication I think there is a very good chance this is the best season yet, so ratings should continue to climb.

  • Shaldun,

    Yep, Breaking Bad will compete in the Emmys this year and True Detective will also be in the Drama Series category. So, it will be super hard for any other drama to get too many wins.

  • Shaldun,

    Yes, ‘Breaking Bad’s’ second half of s5 will compete at the award shows this year. So will ‘True Detective’, which HBO shockingly entered as a drama series instead of miniseries.

  • I would guess that episode 3 is going to put up huge numbers after the PW in ep 2 . There should be an official announcement for season 5 soon too.

  • How does the 8.2 compare to prior “first two viewings” numbers? Did people just shift to more event watching? That’s a huge explosion in viewers.

  • Maxwell James,

    Your life has been spared, ser, largely due to loyal service from previous campaigns. Return home and cheer on for House Dorne and Oberyn, specifically. That is all ( :

  • Hexonx,

    Hi, where is the normal links to reviews from lots of other sites? What happened to that? I liked that because it was all here in one place and I could see what other people thought of each episode? Maybe I missed it or it’s coming??

  • Can we get a recap round-up please? There’s always some I miss and I’m pretty excited to see what people think of the premiere and where their expectations were before the season started.

    Metacritic doesn’t seem to have updated it’s season 4 collection in a few days.

    I see kabhal above had the same thought at the same time.

  • Winner winner! Chicken Dinner!

    They have the preview of next weeks episode up, looks like Joffery’s wedding is going to be sooner than I thought. I can’t wait to see what people think about it, plus George wrote the episode.

  • Tyrion Pimpslap: ‘True Detective’, which HBO shockingly entered as a drama series instead of miniseries.

    Still lamenting that decision…. oh well…. fans don’t know everything. My knee jerk reaction is that it is regrettable. Earlier recognition for BB has had a good run already… we’ll see. *>*

  • WildSeed,

    Thrones won’t win an Emmy for best drama any time soon, sadly. Maybe in the last couple of seasons, if the material is as strong as 4’s…

  • This was the best GoT opening episode so far. A lot better than season 3 which had some serious issues. Let’s hope the quality remains the same for this season (it can also be better of course).

    beam me up Scotty. And while you’re at it cast Mads Mikkelsen as Euron

  • Also, I just wanted to step in and say… HAHAHAHAH! I told you mofos that wasn’t Yara speaking with Melisandre, I told you it was a burn victim, but you people insisted! Well, here you go! Proof.

  • There is a crazy trend for GoT rating.

    – Every Episode 10 has had more viewers then the same seasons Episode 1.
    – Every Episode 1 has had more viewers then any previous episode in the entire series.

    Season 1 Range: 2.20 to 3.04 Million
    Season 2 Range: 3.38 to 4.20 Million
    Season 3 Range: 4.27 to 5.5 Million

    Now the Season 4 premiere has 6.6 Million.

    This is how you build a show properly.

  • Crabber’s Son:
    so looks like 9 seasons it is….

    No. It means that we will at least get two more seasons and by then HBO can’t pull the plug on the series because it would be suicide to do that to a fanbase.

    The series will see its logic conclusion, which is likely to be after 70 to 80 hours.

    D&D are likely to be done with 5 books after 5 seasons based on the content that is in AFFC & ADWD. There is no way they will do 2 seasons for each of the next 2 books.

  • I think how many people watched it world wide would be a lot more impressive.

    But of course it’s always the American audience.

  • So if GoT was considered a mega hit last year… What’s the proper terminology for it this year?

    Jurassic Hit Series Game of Thrones?

  • Easteros bunny,

    But you would have nothing to compare it to. And it would be a very hard figure to count, considering all the variables. It’s nice, manageable and relatable to other shows this way. But I do believe that the overall viewership for this episode will reach 50 mil.

  • Arthur,

    Don’t do this! Last season we were so happy in the premiere and then it dropped down significantly in episode 2. Please, god of ratings, let episode 2, 8, 9 and 10 get a shit ton of views!

  • Greg,

    Nope. The show will survive till the end in season 7 (which is hopefully an extended season like they did in Breaking Bad). Unless ratings in season 5 will drop bellow 3 million, which won’t happen.

  • jentario,

    I wouldn’t worry about it brutha!

    Those who don’t come back next week for first airing will hear about what they missed and start tuning in for first runs more often.

    This season is going to have so many storyline peeks and valleys that it’ll keep the casuals not knowing wtf is going on! Lol…

  • Jeb:
    Greg,

    I wish trolls would be a little more imaginatve…

    Something like this: “The Lord of Light and The Great Other finally reveal themselves to be the same person. The character is played by GRRM and kills everybody. The End!”

  • jentario:
    Also, I just wanted to step in and say… HAHAHAHAH! I told you mofos that wasn’t Yara speaking with Melisandre, I told you it was a burn victim, but you people insisted! Well, here you go! Proof.

    This^. Even while I was entertaining the idea of Stannis capturing YarAsha in S4, it was still blatantly obvious that Melisandre was talking to Shireen or someone minor.

    Anyway, I was expecting a 6.4-6.5 if we were lucky, so this is fantastic news. As others have said, it is now essentially guaranteed that the show will reach its natural conclusion, whether that be in season 7 or 8 (I’m still hoping for a 16 episode 8th season :P).

  • Ser Tahu,

    Sorry Ser Tahu, but I doubt we’ll get to season 8. I also hoped for a slightly extended season 8, now all I can hope for is a heavily extended season 7 (16 episodes)…
    That said, I have somehow managed to fit almost all of AFFC and ADWD into my season 5 layout (including Dorne and the Iron Islands), which gives me hopes that it is still possible that doing 7 seasons won’t entirely hurt the show.

  • Tyrion Pimpslap:
    Alan,

    I think season 3 had 6.3 million as the highest total Sunday viewership.

    Awesome.

    I actually don’t think it was mostly marketing. I think it is mostly word of mouth.

  • Best episode yet! Better script, better editing, better pacing. It will be at 7.0, before the end of the season…it is known.

  • Carne: Three new (?) stills from the episode.

    They were posted on Tumblr last night. HBO posts their episode stills on HBO.com every week right after the episode airs, and they go onto Tumblr, that’s standard during the active season.

  • Can someone tell me how I can watch this online, I don’t have a TV, in Canada? I’d be more than willing to pay for HBO GO but can’t. HBO makes it a pain to watch their shows..

  • Maybe I missed it, but I hadn’t seen anyone post a comparison for the total evening numbers to Season 3 opener. So I went looking for it. Total for the night Season 4: 8.2. Season 3: 6.7

  • Wow! That is awesome! The original goal for this season was to see it break 6m now the knew goal going to have to be 7m:). Never thought that would even be a possibility.

  • Ghost:
    I would guess that episode 3 is going to put up huge numbers after the PW in ep 2 . There should be an official announcement for season 5 soon too.

    Yup!

  • jentario,

    Don’t do this! Last season we were so happy in the premiere and then it dropped down significantly in episode 2. Please, god of ratings, let episode 2, 8, 9 and 10 get a shit ton of views!

    GoT never had a significant drop in ratings after a premiere. Season 3 premiere had 4.37m, the 2nd episode got 4.27m

  • MasterofCunnilingus:
    This season will win Best Drama. Mark my words.

    Not likely. This was one of the best first episodes so far, but critically GOT is always going to struggle with pacing, adaptation niggles, and characters with too little screen time, that other contenders just don’t have to work around. And there are some big contenders this year.

    OTOH, if any season of this show has a shot it’s probably this one.

  • If season 5 at some point can get to 8 million I’m pretty sure the show wont stop at seven seasons I just hope there will be something different about the final season either 16 episodes or like a 3 hour hbo movie after the regular 10 lord of the rings style (20 fade to black endings included)

  • yer:
    If season 5 at some point can get to 8 million I’m pretty sure the show wont stop at seven seasonsI just hope there will be something different about the final season either 16 episodes or like a 3 hour hbo movie after the regular 10 lord of the rings style (20 fade to black endings included)

    I would love that they do it for next season too. At least 12/13 episodes as other HBO shows. It will likely adapt all AFFC/ADWD (and one battle of TWOW) and I think this will be a little rushed in 10 episodes. Thye can’t in the time frame as usual, never mind, I will gladely wait a few more months to watch it. A few more months goes in the summer slot, where True Blood is aired. However, True Blood is finished this year so the slot is empty for GOT. I have seen doubts on the one-year schedule for the season 2 of True Detective also. Maybe they can also use 2-3 additionnal months and take the Spring slot of GOT. If The Leftovers is a success, put it in the fall for their season 2 (or in summer with GOT as it will be with True Blood this year), Boardwalk Empire won’t be there anymore in 2015.

  • Remember all the doom and gloom here after the ratings for the episode 1 of season 1 were published? That was funny.

  • sjwenings: Not gonna happen. They’re struggling as it is to make 10 hours a season. And next one will not be easier than this one – probably harder.

    Yeah but you know 10 is just an abitrary number that we use because the chinese adopted the base 10 numeral system….if we were using the base 9 numeral system we’d probably have just 9 episodes per season and they’d say it’s as much as they could do, and the same for 11 ;)

  • Will unfortunately be a fairly noticeable dip this week for Episode 2 (a shame) due to the lack of action in Ep1. I know reviews have been good, but most people I think expected more, and felt the episode was too character-driven, and not plot-moving, which we can expect will deter the “Now” generation.

    Episode 3 I suspect will rise again, probably above 6Mil.

  • matt,

    For first airings yes, but the episode is sure to create a buzz. The numbers throughout the week (which are more important) will probably stay high.

  • I have spoken with a bunch of Unsullied at school since the premiere and they all seemed fairly satisfied, so in my small test chamber things are looking good, anyway.

  • Pau Soriano,

    I really doubt that… episode counts for these sorts of shows have more traditionally been 13 — it has very little to do with the mathematical histories of a given number. 10 is what they went in believing themselves capable of delivering and they’ve stuck to it.

  • I don’t know what the average price of a cinema ticket is in the US, but in the UK it’s seven pounds. So 6.6. million would translate into £46.2 million gross in one day if this episode was a movie.

  • Jeff O’Connor:
    Pau Soriano,

    10 is what they went in believing themselves capable of delivering and they’ve stuck to it.

    Yes but probably they went on believing 10 was the number because 10 has a specific meaning in our society that 9 or 11 don’t have ;)

    If they can do 10 of course they could do 11, IF they really had to.

  • I hope they handle aFfC and aDwD simultaneously throughout the next two seasons like the big book that it originally was (before being split into two based on location).