The highly anticipated premiere on Sunday of "Game of
Thrones" beat out its season three premiere of 4.4 million
viewers and topped its all-time-high audience of 5.5 million.
The series of civil war, extreme weather and mythical creatures
is shaping up to be the Time Warner Inc-owned network's biggest
show since "The Sopranos," which drew 11.9 million viewers for
its 2007 finale.
After the slaughter of the main members of the Stark family in
the "Red Wedding" episode last season, the season four premiere
saw the remaining Starks coming to terms with the deaths.
Audiences saw Arya Stark, played by 16-year-old Maisie Williams,
take a dark, cruel turn as she is exacts revenge for her family.
The series is adapted from author George R.R. Martin's "A Song
of Ice and Fire" novels.
HBO said a total of 8.2 million people watched the episode,
which included two replays later on Sunday. "Game of Thrones"
averages a gross audience of 14.4 million per episode. That
figure includes viewers who record the show and watch it later
in the week, which is popular among the network's viewers.
The network also said its online viewing app, HBO Go,
experienced technical difficulties under heavy demand for "Game
of Thrones," which made it difficult for some users to access
The debut of eccentric tech comedy "Silicon Valley" averaged 2
million viewers following "Game of Thrones," while the season
three premiere of political satire "Veep" averaged 955,000.
In its second season, "Veep" averaged 3.9 million viewers,
including live and recorded viewings.
HBO's Sunday night lineup of the three series has been lauded by
critics as some of U.S. television's strongest programming
(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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