HBO



Fans spent nearly two agonizing years waiting for the return of "Game of Thrones," and when it finally returned on Sunday night, millions of them tuned in -- and set yet another ratings record for the hit HBO series.

The premium cable outlet released viewership numbers for the season eight premiere episode on Monday afternoon, tallying how many people watched the series both live and over the course of the night, including those who streamed the episode. In what's becoming a trend for "Thrones," the installment broke the show's own ratings record for highest number of viewers, tallying 17.4 million at last count. That bests the previous record, 16.9 million, set with the season seven finale in 2017.

And Sunday's premiere wasn't just good news for "Thrones," but HBO in general, with the episode becoming the most-watched telecast in HBO history. It also secured the title of the most-watched installment of any scripted TV series to air so far in 2019, easily beating out previous champ "The Big Bang Theory," which pulled in and its 14.1 million viewers from February 7. That's certainly no small feat, since HBO is available in far fewer households than broadcast stalwart CBS.

It truly seems like the sky's the limit for "Thrones," which continues to break its own records and grow in total viewership each season. There's no telling how high ratings will soar when the season -- and series -- finale rolls around.

[via: The Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly]