Like it did with Boardwalk Empire in September, HBO just renewed Game of Thrones moments after the ratings for the premiere episode were in. For Game of Thrones, those ratings were solid, not great. But, also like with Boardwalk Empire, HBO invested in elaborate sets and designs in re-creating the world from George R.R. Martin’s books, so a second season was considered a sure thing. And while HBO brass pay attention to ratings, the numbers have never been the deciding factor in the network’s renewal decisions as proven by the pickups of shows like Treme, Bored to Death and In Treatment. “We are delighted by the way David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have brought George R.R. Martin’s amazing book series to the screen, and thrilled by the support of the media and our viewers,” HBO’s head of programming Michael Lombardo said.
In its heavily promoted premiere Sunday night, HBO’s new fantasy series landed between True Blood and Boardwalk Empire ratings-wise. For its debut 9 PM airing, Game of Thrones drew 2.2 million viewers, down 54% from the September premiere of Boardwalk Empire but up 57% from the 1.4 million who tuned in for the debut of True Blood three years ago. (more…)