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Game of Thrones finale pulled the biggest numbers in HBO history
According to Variety, just those fans who watched the series come to an end live on HBO clocked in at a total of 13.6 million. That’s 200,000 more people that the previous record-holder for HBO’s biggest episode, the Season 4 premiere of The Sopranos back in 2002.
If you include those who streamed on HBO Go or HBO Now, the Season 8 finale totalled 19.3 million viewers, beating out the penultimate episode’s record by almost a million people. These numbers don’t really compete with network television finales since HBO is a premium cable service and Game of Thrones is a still a little more niche than something like Dallas.
To put that in perspective, it had more viewers than The Big Bang Theory, a show that frequently tops the weekly ratings — and people don’t have to pay extra for that. It’s about as much as this year’s College Football Playoff National Championship or the Grammys.
That's a huge step for HBO and a lot to live up to for any prequel show set in the same universe. How can something with no basis in George R.R. Martin’s books stack up against this record-setter? Only time will tell, just like time will tell if this particular viewership record will hold... or if a new contender, like Westworld's third season, will take the throne for itself.