The penultimate episode of “The Last of Us” Season 1 reached an impressive 8.1 million viewers on Sunday night.
According to Warner Bros. Discovery, that makes Episode 8 the series’ most viewed thus far. Previously, that title belonged to Episode 4 with 7.5 million viewers, though WBD did not make data available regarding the audience size of Episodes 5-7.
These figures point to linear viewership on HBO’s cable platform combined with streams on HBO Max through each episode’s premiere night. The 8.1 million viewers who tuned into Episode 8, titled “When We Are In Need,” contributed to a 74% increase from the viewership of the series premiere, which drew an audience of 4.7 million people.
Adapted from the popular PlayStation games of the same name, “The Last of Us” was an instant success for HBO when it premiered in January. Those 4.7 million initial viewers scored the network its second-most watched debut in over a decade — only behind “Game of Thrones” prequel series “House of the Dragon.” The series then built on that launch with 5.7 million viewers of its next installment, HBO’s largest ever increase between a launch and a second episode, leading to an early Season 2 renewal. And alongside reaching another then-series high of 6.4 million, Episode 3 received major acclaim from critics and fans alike for the guest performances of Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett, jumpstarting conversations about awards potential for the actors and the show as a whole.
Given the show’s continually growing audience, “The Last of Us” looks likely to hit yet another series high with Episode 9, which will be its Season 1 finale. Though it may lose some viewers to the 95th Oscars ceremony, which will air on ABC when the episode debuts on HBO and HBO Max, that won’t necessarily stop its momentum. It should be noted that when Episode 4 racked up its solid 7.4 million viewers, it premiered in competition with the Grammys.
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