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Game of Thrones racked up another huge body count with “The Long Night” — both onscreen and in terms of people watching.
The longest-ever episode of the HBO drama delivered a series-record 17.8 million viewers, including replays and streaming. The episode was devoted solely to the heavily anticipated Battle of Winterfell, which pitted the forces of the Night King against Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen and their marshaled troops.
The 17.8 million viewers surpasses the 17.4 million first-night viewers for the season premiere on April 14.
The episode’s on-air debut drew 12.02 million people, the second-largest audience ever for an initial airing of Game of Thrones, behind only the season-seven finale (12.07 million).
The first two episodes of the final season have averaged 16.65 million viewers, including replays and streaming, on the night they aired. Following the premiere’s then-record 17.4 million, the second episode on April 21 averaged 15.9 million for its first night.
In all three episodes so far, the TV audience for the initial airing made up about two-thirds of the first-night total. If the show’s history is a guide, that share will eventually shrink to less than half of each episode’s full viewership.
After a week of additional replays and delayed viewing, the season-eight premiere grew to 27.7 million viewers, and HBO says 38 million have now viewed it.
Game of Thrones is HBO’s most-watched series ever and currently the biggest scripted series on TV by a wide margin. Season seven of the show averaged 32.8 million viewers across all platforms, according to the pay cabler.
The episode was predictably huge on social media as well: Twitter says “The Long Night” sparked 7.8 million tweets, the most ever for an episode of a scripted series.
April 30, 8:20 a.m. Updated with streaming figures for “The Long Night.”
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