Ending what has been a record-breaking seventh season for Game Of Thrones, the longest-ever episode of the HBO blockbuster smashed its previous viewership highs with Sunday’s penultimate season finale. The nearly 80-minute long “The Dragon and The Wolf” penned by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss snagged 12.1 million viewers for the series based on George R.R. Martin’s books. The 9 PM starting Jeremy Podeswa-directed episode is up 13% from GoT‘s previous viewership high set August 13 with its “Eastwatch” episode, and a surge of 36% over the Season 6 finale on June 26, 2016.
Coming out of a cycle that has seen the series and the premium cabler battered by leaks and hacks, Sunday’s GoT saw a total of 16.5 million sets of eyeballs watching as the Night King and his Army of the Dead broke through the Wall on Westeros’ northern border. That figure adds up those watching the initial airing, the first replay and early numbers from HBO Go and HBO Now.
The good news for the Richard Plepler-run channel went further into the night as the extra long GoT was followed by series highs for Ballers and Insecure. The Dwayne Johnson-led former series scored 2.9 million viewers, and the Issa Rae-led series had a total audience of 1.3 million. That’s a 10% and 1% uptick, respectively, over their previous highs, which Insecure hit just last week.
Set to be a six-episode run, the eighth and final season of the Emmy-winning Game Of Thrones is expected to debut next year.