'Game of Thrones' Season 8 Premiere Slays HBO Ratings Record

After a lengthy two-year hiatus, Game of Thrones returned for its final season with a massive following along for the ride. The Season Eight premiere on Sunday night wasn't just a hit in modern TV standards; it was a behemoth compared to the series' already stellar numbers, easily setting multiple records on its way to becoming the highest telecast in HBO history.

The highly anticipated Season Eight premiere drew 17.4 million viewers on Sunday night across multiple airings and streaming options. That's a massive number for any TV program, but it's made even more impressive by the fact that far fewer people have HBO. So far this year, The Big Bang Theory's February 7th episode on CBS was the most-watched telecast in 2019, with 14.1 million viewers tuning into the program. Thrones quickly left that mark in the dust, and will likely topple it again by the end of the season.

Before "Winterfell" aired on Sunday night, the most-watched one night telecast on HBO belonged to the Game of Thrones Season Seven finale almost two years ago. That episode drew a total of 16.3 million viewers when it aired. The ratings have also taken an enormous leap when compared to the Season Seven premiere, which saw a total of 10 million folks tune in. If these trends are any indication, the series finale next month will be an absolute monster in the ratings. Could it top 20 million?

According to EW, Game of Thrones was also a major victor on social media Sunday night, as it racked up five million tweets during the telecast. The report also states that Sam telling Jon Snow the truth about his parents was the most tweeted-about moment of the episode.

Did you tune in to watch Game of Thrones live on Sunday night? Do you think the show will top the 20-million-viewers mark by the series finale? Let us know in the comments!

New episodes of Game of Thrones air on Sunday nights at 9 pm ET on HBO.

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