The Last of Us HBO Viewership Increases for Third Straight Week

The fourth episode of The Last of Us premiered on HBO last night, and the series continues to find new fans. According to HBO, viewership for "Please Hold My Hand" reached 17.5 million, which is a 17% increase over the previous week. That figure is also 60% higher than the series premiere. What this all means is that The Last of Us is not only keeping viewers, but positive word-of-mouth is helping the show gain a much bigger audience with each passing week. HBO's numbers are "based on Nielsen and first party data."

It will be interesting to see how viewership numbers are impacted by the show's fifth episode! Unlike the first four episodes, episode 5 will release on Friday, in order to avoid conflicting with the Super Bowl on Sunday. That could result in viewership being spread out a bit more, rather than it all being concentrated on one day. Regardless of when viewers decide to watch the episode, it's likely we'll see some big numbers once again.

While viewership numbers for The Last of Us have been impressive, they aren't all that surprising, given the strong praise the series has received. The third episode in particular has been called one of the best episodes of television ever made, with the performance of Nick Offerman receiving heavy praise. It remains to be seen whether the rest of the show's first season will hit the mark, but clearly the show is off to a very strong start.

The Last of Us closely follows the story from the original PlayStation 3 game. So far, episode 3 has featured the most significant deviations from the source material, but in a way that seems to have clicked with the show's audience. There's a lot of difficulty adapting a beloved video game, and there have been a number of failures over the last three decades. Part of that struggle comes down to knowing when to remain faithful to the source material, and when to do something different. Thankfully, HBO seems to have found the perfect mix for The Last of Us!

Did you start watching The Last of Us following word-of-mouth? What do you think of the show so far? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!