HBO got big ratings — its biggest in almost seven years, in fact — from the Season 4 premiere of “Game of Thrones.”
The episode’s initial airing drew 6.6 million viewers Sunday night (April 6), a big jump over the 4.4 million who watched the Season 3 debut last year. It’s also a new high for the series, surpassing the 5.5 million who tuned in for episode 6 of Season 3, and goes down as HBO’s most-watched telecast since the series finale of “The Sopranos” in June 2007.
Replays of the premiere later in the night added 1.6 million more viewers. Demand for the episode also crashed the HBO Go app for a while Sunday night.
The big audience for “Game of Thrones” also helped launch HBO’s new comedy “Silicon Valley” to solid ratings. The premiere of Mike Judge’s show about the tech industry brought in 2 million viewers, the best premiere for a comedy on HBO since “Hung” in June 2009. The Season 3 premiere of “Veep” followed with just under 1 million viewers, off slightly from its Season 2 opener.
Elsewhere on cable Sunday, the season finales of “Shameless” and “House of Lies” on Showtime scored well despite the heavy competition. “Shameless” ended its fourth season with 1.9 million viewers for its initial airing and 2.8 million total for the night (one replay), up 18 percent from last year’s finale. “House of Lies” brought in 1.4 million people over two airings, the best number of its three finale nights thus far.
AMC’s “Turn,” meanwhile, debuted to a decent number: 2.1 million viewers, which grew to 3 million with a replay.