HBO had high hopes for summertime limited series The Night Of, and the show goes into its final episode with an average gross audience of 7 million viewers, says the network. The taut 8-episode drama depicts the incarceration of a young Pakistani-American man following a murder, his transformation in jail, the effect the case has on his family, the law enforcement figures looking to lock him up long term, and the travails of the psoriasis-riddled lawyer aiming to free him.
The series, from Steve Zaillian and Richard Price, showed growth in viewers every week over the last four episodes, including a 25% jump for the Aug. 21 episode. HBO.com is offering the first episode for free.
Among HBO’s summer comedies, Ballers is averaging 7.1 million gross viewers, representing viewers on linear and digital platforms, while rookie Vice Principals stands at 5.4 million.
Some have questioned whether HBO has lost its hit-making charm, despite the network leading the Emmy nominations category for 16 years running.
“Considering the competition from the Olympics, it is incredibly satisfying to see The Night Of break through and enjoy word-of-mouth momentum going into this weekend’s finale,” said Casey Bloys, president of programming. “Followed by the comedy pairing of Ballers and Vice Principals, we saw great success from our summer lineup.”
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver has a gross audience of 5.6 million, up from last season’s 4.7 million, while Real Time With Bill Maher is at 4.4 million, which HBO says is the show’s most watched since its 2003 debut.
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.