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HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ Premiere Draws 17.4 Million Viewers

HBO’s Game of Thrones season eight premiere drew a record 17.4 million viewers in its Sunday debut, according to network officials.

The combined linear, HBO Go and HBO Now audience for the first of the series’ final six episodes beat out the 16.9 million viewers watched by the show's season seven finale to become the most watched episode in the show’s history, according to HBO.

The HBO Now streaming service also saw a jump of approximately 50% in viewing when compared to last season’s finale and nearly doubled (97%) when compared to the seventh season premiere, according to the network. Overall the streaming service reported its largest night of streaming activity ever, said HBO.

RELATED: 'GoT' and Masters Viewers Faced Usual Live Stream Challenges Sunday 

Other HBO shows benefited from the record Thrones ratings debut. The second season premiere of dramedy Barry at 10 pm drew 1.8 million viewers and 2.2 million viewers for the night — more than quadrupling its previous week's audience that did not benefit from the Game of Thrones lead-in. Sunday's episode of Veep at 10:30 drew 1 million viewers and 1.5 million viewers including repeats, its largest audience since June 2016, according to network officials.

Also, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver was watched by 1.7 million viewers for the night and 1.3 million viewers at 11:00 p.m., its most-watched telecast since August 2017, according to the network. 

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.