'Game of Thrones' Ratings Drop: Blame Sansa Rape Backlash or Memorial Day?
Well, we have our answer. More people did not watch "Game of Thrones" this past weekend to see what would happen after the shocker of Sansa's wedding night trauma. But we don't yet know the answer to the larger question: Why, exactly, did the ratings go down for "The Gift" and hit a season low?
Some fans said they would stop watching the show after the big Season 5, Episode 6 twist, others thought the ratings might go up in rubber-necking fascination. We kinda figured roughly the same number of people who usually watched would keep watching for Episode 7, but there was the added element of Memorial Day weekend to consider. Some shows take breaks over the holiday, but GoT chose not to, giving us "The Gift" of [SPOILERS IN CASE YOU MISSED IT] Dany meeting Tyrion and Cersei getting her first taste of justice. But how many fans watched that happen on Sunday night?
According to TV by the Numbers, "Game of Thrones" had 5.4 million viewers on Sunday, with an 18-49 rating of 2.5. That's a drop from last week's 6.24 million and 3.1 rating (which was itself a drop from the previous week's 3.5 rating), and significantly down from the Season 5 premiere's 8 million viewers and 4.2 rating. Shows often drop after premieres (and tick back up for the finales) but this is the first time this season that fewer than 6 million people tuned in, and the first time the ratings dropped below 3.0. That's not good.
Not that a drop in the 18-49 crowd is going to scare away advertisers, since ... HBO. But still, it's markedly fewer people watching the show. If it looks the same next week, maybe we can officially say it's plot backlash instead of a holiday blip. For now, we'll go with the guess that it was a bit of both. Then again, book fans just got a great gift in "The Gift," so maybe news of that Tyrion/Dany meeting -- which was a pleasant surprise even for book readers -- will bring more fans to watch this weekend's Episode 8, "Hardhome."
Do you have a theory about the ratings and/or a prediction for the March 31 numbers?
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