There were deaths, reunions, vows of revenge and revelations of real identities and of course intrigue on the return of Game Of Thrones on Sunday – there were also a lot of people watching. In its 9 PM Season 6 debut and on a free preview weekend from HBO, the blockbuster snared 7.94 million total viewers and a 4.2 rating among adults 18-49.
Though snapping the debut growth spurt the series based on George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, that April 24 result is only 0.6% less in viewers than what the then record breaking Season 5 GoT opener had on April 12 last year. Among the key demo, this year’s debut of the David Benioff and D.B Weiss EP’d show dipped 5% from the Season 5 premiere. Compared to June 14, 2015 fatality filled S5 finale, Sunday’s GoT was down 3% in the demo and 2% in overall viewers. The S5 finale was the all time viewership high for the battle for the Iron Throne.
When the two repeats and streaming numbers are added in, the Season 6 debut of GoT had 10.7 million viewers. Those streaming numbers on HBO GO and HBO Now could also see some adjustments. Easily topping the night on cable, the return of GoT saw 9PM slot rival Fear The Walking Dead take a demo fall of 16% from the comparatively uncompetitive last week.
Following GoT, HBO had the Season 3 debut of Silicon Valley and the Season 5 premiere of Veep. Both shows saw some falls from their results of last year with the former getting 1.86 million viewers and a 1.0 rating while the White House set latter had 1.10 million and a 0.5 rating. In viewership, the 10 PM Silicon Valley was down 13% and 23% in the demo. The 10:30 PM Julia Louis-Dreyfus led Veep was up 5% in overall viewers but down 16% among the 18-49s. In total viewers, the S5 debut of Veep was the best opener the satire has had since the 1.19 million who watched its Season 2 premiere on April 14, 2013