HBO's 'The Last of Us' Mushrooms to a Same Day Audience of 7.5 Million Viewers

HBO original series 'The Last of Us'
(Image credit: HBO)

The many charms of Better Call Saul aside, zombie series The Walking Dead carried AMC Networks through a creatively post-apocalyptic decade. 

Even after it jumped the shark in season 6, when the bat-wielding Negan (actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan) was brought to heel, an entire publicly traded entertainment company was able get by quarter to quarter, largely fueled by inexplicable viewer loyalty to its grim flagship series and associated spinoffs. 

Maybe David Zaslav and the rest of his creatively antagonistic executive team at Warner Bros Discovery will be so blessed with their new zombie show. 

It sure looks like things are going in the right direction. 

On Sunday, HBO's the Last of Us was seen by a same-day audience of 7.5 million viewers across linear and HBO Max streaming viewing, according to data released by Nielsen. That represents 60% growth over the show's impressive debut four weeks earlier

The Last Us has grown its audience in each subsequent airing since that Jan. 15 debut.

Also read: For Sony, the Success of ‘The Last of Us’ Won’t Be the Last of Its Cross-Platform, Arms Dealer Strategy

And it came despite the fact that The Last of Us, a Sony production based on the company's popular PlayStation videogame, had episode 4 drop at the same time as the live airing of The Grammys.

Notably, based on that 7.5 million viewer total -- and the current growth trajectory -- it isn't hard to imagine The Last of Us, er, mushrooming to House of the Dragon-like viewership levels. Back in October, HBO's Game of Thrones spinoff show closed its first season with same-day cross-platform viewership of 9.3 million. 

The Last of Us regularly drops on Sunday at 9 p.m. EST, but HBO will debut episode 5 on Friday this week to get out of the way of the Super Bowl. 

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!