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‘Game of Thrones’ Returns to Record Ratings


Ed Sheeran and Maisie Williams in the Season 7 premiere of “Game of Thrones,” HBO’s most-watched series ever.

Helen Sloan/HBO, via Associated Press

Winter is popular.

Sunday’s Season 7 premiere of “Game of Thrones,” which kicked off the show’s final stretch, brought record ratings for the series and HBO.

As of Monday the episode had been watched by 16.1 million people across all platforms, including traditional cable, streaming and on-demand viewing. This is a 50 percent increase from last year’s Season 6 kickoff episode, making it the most-watched premiere ever for both “Game of Thrones” and HBO.

Those numbers will climb this week, as more people stream the episode or watch on-demand. Season 6 of the fantasy epic ultimately averaged 25.7 million viewers per episode. “Game of Thrones” is HBO’s most-watched series ever.

Sunday’s episode also brought HBO the highest number of concurrent viewers across its streaming services, HBO Go and HBO Now. (There were reports of site crashes, though HBO said those were mainly in Latin America.)

The Season 7 premiere was arguably the most hotly anticipated episode in the show’s history, coming after a longer-than-usual hiatus between seasons. “Game of Thrones” seasons have traditionally debuted in April, but the show required a longer production period this time.

After Sunday’s premiere, the fantasy epic has 12 episodes remaining — six more this season, and a final six in Season 8.

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