Winter may be here for the penultimate season of Game Of Thrones, but HBO’s blockbuster series turned on the heat to shatter viewership records with last night’s Season 7 debut. Leaving the previous series high of 8.89 million snared for its Season 6 finale in June 2016, last night’s “Dragonstone” episode snagged 10.1 million viewers for its premiere. Telling of how TV is consumed today, the opener pulled in another 6 million viewers on same-day DVR playback and streaming via HBO Go and HBO Now.
When all in, last night’s Jeremy Podeswa-directed episode of the premium cabler’s Emmy-winning blockbuster based on George R.R. Martin’s books is the most watched-premiere in HBO history. The 10.1 million viewership total is up 27% over what the Season 6 debut drew in late April last year. That season opener was basically even with the then-record-breaking Season 5 premiere of April 12, 2015.
Ineligible for the Emmys this year because of its later-than-usual debut date, the two-time Best Drama winner executive produced by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will surely be given a royal welcome by the thousands of fans packed into Comic-Con’s Hall H for Friday’s panel.
Or, to quote, Emilia Clarke’s Daenerys from the end of last night’s debut, “Shall we begin?”