As season 8 of Game of Thrones aired on HBO, the network continually broke records for the most-watched episode of the series and HBO's entire history. With the series finale, the fantasy epic drew in its biggest audience yet, with 13.6 million viewers, The Hollywood Reporter reports. In a press release, HBO revealed that thanks to replays and early streaming figures, the actual number of people who caught the finale was closer to 19.3 million overall.
The previous record for HBO arrived with the penultimate episode, "The Bells," which drew in 12.48 million as it aired, and 18.4 million overall. The six-episode eighth season of Game of Thrones was shorter than previous seasons (1-6 had ten episode orders, while 7 had seven episodes), but it still recorded five of the six most-watched episodes in its history. The sixth most-watched episode was episode 7 of season 7.
HBO added that it averaged an astonishing 44.2 million gross viewers for season 8, approximately 10 million better than season 7's average. The fourth-season premiere of The Sopranos in 2002 previously held the title for most-watched broadcast on HBO with 13.43 million viewers. The series finale brought in 11.9 million viewers.
Also of note, Barry garnered its highest viewership with its season 2 finale, which brought in 2.7 million viewers. Barry had been airing shortly after each episode of Game of Thrones , likely leading to a trail-in that managed to keep a good chunk of viewers around.