Game of Thrones began its fifth season Sunday the way it does every year: by setting a new ratings record. And it wasn’t HBO’s only big winner: Silicon Valley drew its largest same-day ratings ever, too. As for GOT, the show’s 41st episode drew a same-day audience of 8 million viewers, up 21 percent from last spring’s season-four return (6.6 million), and about 1 million more than its previous high-water mark (7.2 million on May 4). Among viewers under 50, GOT soared to a 4.2 rating, nearly matching the Sunday demo average for ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox combined. While GOT has obviously become a must-see-on-Sunday event for a big chunk of its audience, it’s worth noting that nearly all HBO shows dramatically increase their viewership once audience from DVR replays, reruns, and digital platforms such as HBO Go and HBO Now get tallied. Last season, the average episode of the show ended up with around 19 million viewers once all means of viewership (save for illegal torrents) were counted. It’s a good bet GOT will break the 20 million threshold by the end of this season.
That big tune-in at 9 p.m. helped HBO’s Sunday comedies. As noted, Silicon Valley turned in a series-best 2.1 million viewers with its first 10 p.m. showing, up about 5 percent from its series premiere last spring (2 million). More impressive, Silicon notched a 1.3 with adults under 50, easily beati...
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