‘Games of Thrones’ Officially Surpasses ‘The Sopranos’ as HBO’s Most-Watched Show

By June 6, 2014

There’s no doubt that the fantasy epic series “Game of Thrones” has become a massive cable hit, and it’s only coming up on finishing its fourth season. But now it’s truly become HBO’s biggest program ever.

The cable network has revealed (via EW) that “Game of Thrones” has officially surpassed “The Sopranos” as the most-watched show in the history of HBO.

The numbers have “Game of Thrones” averaging a gross audience of 18.4 million viewers across all platforms. That’s enough to beat the previous record that was set all the way back in 2002, when “The Sopranos” was at the top of its game with 18.2 million viewers per episode. What’s truly incredible is that last season, “Game of Thrones” had 14.4 million viewers per episode, so 4 million people have found the series since the third season.

Even more interesting is thinking about the fact that last time HBO had ratings like this, the idea of streaming episodes of any of their shows on iPads or other mobile devices wasn’t even possible. Even VOD wasn’t as plentiful or accessible as an option for consuming home entertainment. Netflix hadn’t even started streaming movies online yet, and they had only been shipping DVDs for five years. How crazy is that?

Game of Thrones - Peter Dinklage

There’s been a lot of talk about “Game of Thrones” being HBO’s most popular show ever, but the network wanted to make sure they had solid numbers before making such a declaration and dethroning the popular mob drama that helped build their solid reputation for outstanding original programming.

Of course, “Game of Thrones” has been helped remarkably by new technology. There’s no telling how many people might have watched “The Sopranos” at the time it was airing new episodes if the DVR was available, or if HBO Go was around. Those devices and services have made watching shows so much easier than back in 2002, so it’s more convenient for larger audiences to watch a show than it was 12 years ago. At the same time, there are plenty more people pirating the show now than there were back in 2002.

Anyway, this just goes to show you that HBO is at the top of their game, and there’s no way that “Game of Thrones” will be ending anytime soon. Even if the series is only meant to last seven or eight seasons, HBO will probably figure out a way to keep the world of Westeros alive on cable with a prequel series or something of that sort. After all, the series has already been officially renewed for a fifth and sixth season, so HBO is hungry for as much as they can get.

Oh, and if you were just as shocked and outraged as many of the other fans of the show after the grisly conclusion of last week’s episode, then you might want to take solace in this alternate ending for the episode (spoilers ahead):

There are just two episodes left in the fourth season of “Game of Thrones” with the season finale scheduled for June 15th.

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Ethan Anderton
Some of his favorite films include Ghostbusters, The Empire Strikes Back and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, while his favorite TV series include LOST, Mad Men, 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, Arrested Development and Saturday Night Live.
  • “Game of Thrones” dominates the pop culture conversation in a way I haven’t seen in a long time. A lot of people talk about “Mad Men” in the circles of people I follow online, for example, but GOT definitely has the viewers to justify its dominance.