How 'Westworld' Ratings Rank Among Recent HBO Drama Premieres

Westworld_Game of Thrones_Vinyl_Split - Publicity - H 2016
Courtesy of HBO

Westworld_Game of Thrones_Vinyl_Split - Publicity - H 2016

HBO is not playing a short game with Westworld. The new drama, which comes with a $100 million price tag on its first season, won't likely see its performance accurately judged until the full 10 episodes have had some time on the pay cable network's many platforms.

For now, at least, the series is off to a relatively promising start. Sunday's opener, which clocked in at just over an hour long, bowed to nearly 2 million viewers in live-plus-same day returns for the premiere telecast alone. Sources put the grand total for the night, which combines HBO Go and HBO Now streams, up at 3.3 million viewers.

The latter number is more telling of interest, given HBO's moves into cable-free services, but the live tune-in does a fairly good job of ranking the series among other HBO drama openers from the last five years. Across that even playing field, it ranks south of the reigning linear champ (True Detective, which took 2.33 million viewers in 2014) but far north of Vinyl. The latter, which premiered to middling results earlier in 2016 and caused network brass to back out of a planned second season, only attracted 764,000 viewers.

HBO's only other 2016 drama premiere, The Night Of, was similarly soft — but the network was so confident in that premiere, it offered it up for early streaming. Interest was evident by the 1 million-viewer spike the subsequent week. All told, the event series averaged 7 million viewers across platforms.

Westworld's complete numbers are a ways off. In the meantime we are left to speculate based on the live-plus-same day debuts below. Game of Thrones, after all, premiered to just 2.2 million viewers on its premiere night. It now averages 25 million a week. 

HBO Drama Premieres Since 2011 (live-plus-same day only)

1. True Detective (2014) 2.33 million
2. Game of Thrones (2011) — 2.22 million
3. The Newsroom (2012) — 2.14 million
4. Westworld (2016)— 1.96 million
5. The Leftovers (2014) 1.77 million
6. The Night Of (2016) — 774,000*
7. Vinyl (2016) —  764,000

*premiere saw early sampling online.