TV Ratings: ‘The Last of Us’ Scares Up Big Premiere

TV Ratings: ‘The Last of Us’ Scares Up Big Premiere

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HBO’s The Last of Us got off to a strong start with viewers.

The series, based on the hit video game franchise — and co-created by the game’s architect, Neil Druckmann, and Craig Mazin — delivered 4.7 million cross-platform viewers on Sunday night, according to Nielsen and first-party data from HBO. That figure trails only House of the Dragon’s nearly 10 million among HBO series premieres in the past decade-plus. Other than the Game of Thrones prequel, the last HBO show with a larger opening-night audience for its debut was Boardwalk Empire (4.81 million) in 2010 — several years before HBO had any serious streaming presence.

“We are thrilled to see fans of the series and game alike experience this iconic story in a new way, and we extend our gratitude to them for helping to make it a success,” said Casey Bloys, chairman and CEO of HBO and HBO Max Content. “Congratulations to Craig, Neil and the brilliant cast and crew who worked tirelessly to bring this show to life. We look forward to fans around the world enjoying the rest of the season.”

The 4.7 million viewers figure encompasses the on-air premiere on HBO, replays later in the night and streaming on HBO Max. A more detailed breakdown of the audience will be available when Nielsen releases final ratings for Sunday; on House of the Dragon’s premiere night, more than half of the cross-platform audience came via streaming.

HBO says a show’s first-night audience typically is 20 percent to 40 percent of its eventual total over the course of its run — House of the Dragon averaged about 9 million viewers on Sundays, a little under a third of the eventual 29 million it pulled in over 10 weeks. Should that pattern hold for The Last of Us, it would likely end up in a range of 12 million to 23 million viewers for its run.

The Last of Us is set in a post-apocalyptic future where a fungal pandemic has killed much of humanity and turned others into monsters. Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey star.

Full weekend ratings, including those for the NFL’s wild-card playoff games, will be available later in the week.

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