‘Game of Thrones’ Finale Sets Ratings Record

Game of Thrones Finale Sets Record
Courtesy of HBO

HBO’s “Game of Thrones” continues to grow in popularity, with Sunday’s fifth-season finale drawing the show’s largest audience ever — despite going up against the NBA Finals in most of the country.

According to Nielsen “live plus same-day” estimates, “Thrones” averaged 8.11 million viewers, up 14% from both the previous week (7.14 million) and last year’s finale (7.09 million). The previous series high for the show came with its fifth-season premiere in April, which drew about 8 million.

Sunday’s ratings growth is a continuation of a trend that has seen a show once considered “niche” become cable’s second most popular program, behind only AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”

After bowing in 2011 with 2.2 million viewers, “Game of Thrones” first drew 3 million viewers for an episode with its season 1 finale, and then hit the 4-million mark with its season 2 finale. Midway through its third season, it surpassed 5 million viewers for the first time, and then it moved above 6 million for the first time with its season 4 premiere last year. It hit 7 million midway through last season, and then kicked off its fifth season with a best-yet 7.997 million.

In adults 18-49, primetime’s most important demo but one that has little effect on a premium service like HBO, Sunday’s finale of “Game of Thrones” averaged a 4.1 rating (or about 5.2 million of its 8.1 million viewers). This is up 8% from last year’s finale score (3.81) and is the show’s second highest-rated ever, behind only its most recent season opener (4.19).

Review: ‘Game of Thrones’ Delivers Amazing Season Finale

The “Game of Thrones” finale also set Twitter ablaze on Sunday, landing atop the Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings weekly top 10 series list with 436,000 event-related Tweets that were seen by a unique audience of 5.1 million people. That was more than twice as many as the next closest series on the list, ABC’s “The Bachelorette” (2.09 million) and ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars” (1.92 million).


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  1. The Walking Dead RULES!

  2. Alex says:

    Honestly people are pissing me off, Glenn was a good character but I seriously felt his time was up on show. Honestly people threatening to stop watching walking dead just because he died is nonsense. We all know you will just be drawn back in. Also no one can say there is no one to root for: carol, Daryl, michonne, Rick, plus many more.

    It wasn’t all that crappy of a death either. If he is still alive I would be very surprised the writers would do that.

  3. Desperately waiting for the coming season. Need to see the comeback of Cersei, Arya Stark and Sansa after all that has happened. One thing that is still going on is whether Jon Snow is still alive or not. Though the speculation and the tweets and FB updates of the celebrities says that Jon Snow is not coming back. Any updates on Jon Snow?

  4. Top viewership ratings perhaps but not IMDB ratings, episode 8 of the fifth season was best rated episode ever across Game of Thrones, The Wire and Breaking Bad!

  5. Bill Rogers says:

    those are not great ratings when you look at them comparative to what could be. For one…8.9 means 9/10th of folks with TV sets, 91 million households chose NOT to watch any ‘thrones’ shows at all…..ever. there are hundreds …but comparatively speaking the TV show ‘Mash’ on its final season got 70.1 ratings score = 70 million households. I know there’s no such thing and reality or ‘truth’ anymore but still — it’s just silly to how low the bar has dropped indicated what is popular and what is not.

    • Marc says:

      Comparing apple to watermelon are ya?? M.A.S.H. was a 4 part series finale, on regular TV, and nothing else was on during that time. You think people are going to tune in to Frontline or That’s Incredible or some crappy made for TV movie while the last episode of M.A.S.H. is on?? Put M.A.S.H. on extended cable and see what happens.

  6. Nanny Mo says:

    I’m torn about this. As a fan, I’ve really enjoyed the show, as a viewer this season killed off all the people I cared about. I was sitting here thinking, am I going to watch season six when I don’t really care all that much about the people who are left? I don’t know. Probably but I’m not excited about it as I was at the end of 1-4. I purposefully didn’t read the book because I wanted to enjoy the surprise, but I haven’t enjoyed the surprises of season 5. Like I said I’m torn about it.

  7. Ruth says:

    Great show, one of the best TV series ever made. And I am a grandma, over 70, who doesn’t usually watch violent shows unless they are really special (like Broadwalk Empire). But I’m totally hooked on GoT, the production, the story and mostly the superb group of actors, mostly British, who have brought class and tremendous talent to the story. Sadly I haven’t read the books – probably an advantage considering the many changes made. Now I just have to wait all those months until series six debuts but we have the whole of GoT on VOD so I’ll undoubtedly be watching during those months. What will all the complainers do until next year!

  8. Al Swearengen says:

    The show gets worse and the ratings increase, I don’t get it.

  9. Visions Lin says:

    Love the demographic they quote….18-49. Since most people do still marry and have children, while both work….wonder where they get the time to watch TV? Seems to me the retirees are the only ones who have time to watch TV so maybe they need to change their ideas of what a demographic really is? And the boomers are the largest segment of the population and retiring so just what is this demographic anyway, and no wonder people are cancelling their cable subscriptions, or not watching but watching only on their computers or tablets when they can. Wrong demographic for prime time TV, industry.

  10. Number one in ratings, number one in piracy and everyone hates it–guess they have absolutely no reason to change anything. http://www.looktothecookie.org/2015/06/game-of-thrones-mothers-mercy.html

  11. jumpstar2014 says:

    Wait, I thought that everybody stopped watching this show after Sansa´s rape. Or the episode afterwards where she was raped some more. Or Hardhome, the episode that had the battle scene in it that totally wasn´t in the books. Or the next one with the burning of the little girl. Wait! I thought nobody watched this show anymore!!!

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