12:05pm PT by Rick Porter
'Game of Thrones' Series Finale Sets All-Time HBO Ratings Record
Game of Thrones ended its record-setting final season with a record-setting finale in the ratings.
The HBO megahit drew 13.6 million viewers for its initial airing of the series finale Sunday night. Adding in replays and early streaming, that figure climbs to 19.3 million. Both figures are records not just for Game of Thrones, but for HBO's entire history.
The previous high for Game of Thrones was set by the penultimate episode on May 12, which delivered 12.48 million viewers for its debut airing and a first-night total of 18.4 million.
The final season has recorded five of the six most-watched episodes in the history of Game of Thrones (the season seven finale is the sixth). With continued streaming, DVR and on-demand viewing and additional replays, HBO says season eight is averaging an unheard-of 44.2 million viewers through Sunday. That's more than 10 million people ahead of the average for season seven.
The previous record for a show airing on HBO was held by the fourth-season premiere of The Sopranos, which drew 13.43 million viewers back in 2002, way before streaming (or even DVR replay, really) was a factor. The Sopranos' final episode in 2007 also held the previous high for an HBO series finale with 11.9 million viewers.
Following Game of Thrones, the season finale of Barry set all-time highs for both its initial run (2.2 million viewers) and one-night total (2.7 million). That's about four times more viewers than the season one finale (548,000 after one airing, 774,000 with same-night replays and streaming).
Game of Thrones was the second major series finale of the week. Three days prior, The Big Bang Theory signed off after 12 seasons on CBS with 18.52 million viewers, which will likely end up well above 20 million after a week of delayed viewing. (As a broadcast network, CBS reaches more than twice as many homes as subscription-based HBO.)