The final season, in fact, has delivered four of the five most-watched episodes in Game of Thrones history, in terms of initial tune-in. Episode three, “The Long Night,” and the season premiere also drew the largest audiences in series history when same-night replays and streaming are factored in: 17.8 million and 17.4 million viewers.
Streaming and replay numbers for Sunday’s episode “The Bells,” will be added when they become available. So far this season, those figures have increased the opening-night viewership by about 50 percent, which could push Sunday’s installment above 18 million, which would also be a record for the show.
The linear ratings for Game of Thrones once again outdrew everything else in the Nielsen-measured TV universe Sunday night. The next most-watched show, ABC’s American Idol (7.89 million viewers), trailed by about 4.6 million people. As a premium channel HBO doesn’t care about demographic ratings so much, but Game of Thrones‘ 5.4 rating among adults 18-49 was more than twice that of the second-highest show, TNT’s Raptors-76ers NBA playoff game (2.5).