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The first-season finale of The Last of Us brought in the show’s biggest audience to date.
Sunday’s finale averaged 8.2 million viewers across all platforms for HBO, up slightly from the previous week’s 8.1 million and an opening-night high for the nine-episode season. According to HBO, The Last of Us’ first six episodes are averaging 30.4 million viewers since the Jan. 15 premiere, with the debut episode closing in on 40 million viewers.
The 30.4 million figure, should it hold as more returns come in on the final three episodes, would mean that The Last of Us is bigger than House of the Dragon, which averaged 29 million cross-platform viewers over the course of its run in the late summer and fall of 2022.
The 8.2 million viewers for Sunday’s finale is 74.5 percent higher than the 4.7 million who watched the series debut in January. A large majority of the show’s audience watches on HBO Max: Not including the episode that aired on Super Bowl Sunday (which streamed two days early), only about 12 percent of the show’s total first-night viewers (846,000 of 6.84 million through episode eight) watched at 9 p.m. on the main HBO cable channel. On-air replays and DVR playback account for a portion of the total as well, but most viewers are watching on HBO Max.
The Last of Us’ cumulative audience of 30.4 million is the biggest for any HBO series since the final season of Game of Thrones averaged better than 44 million viewers over its run in 2019 (its seventh season in 2017 came in at 32.5 million viewers). Thrones concluded a year before HBO Max launched, and its viewership tilted somewhat more toward the cable channel: About 27 percent of its total audience (just under 12 million) watched initial airings on the linear channel, with the rest coming from replays, DVR and the outlet’s streaming options at the time, HBO Go and HBO Now.
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