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HBO’s new shows like The Last of Us are so good, the network just broke a viewership record

Published Feb 2nd, 2023 7:25PM EST
The Last of Us
Image: Liane Hentscher/HBO

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Chances are, even if you’re not caught up on or have even started the new hit HBO series The Last of Us yet, you’ve probably seen people raving about last weekend’s episode (titled Long Long Time) on social media. In the immediate wake of Sunday’s Episode 3, pretty much the universal refrain was: Okay, I get it now. That was one of the best episodes of TV in history.

According to HBO, meanwhile, The Last of Us is so good that its audience hit 6.4 million viewers on Sunday night, up an additional 12% from what was already a historic jump in viewership following Episode 2 — and up 37% from the series’ debut night. That data is measured based on figures from Nielsen and first-party data.

But there’s more.

A new HBO record thanks to four current series

With Season 1 of The Last of Us now averaging 21.3 million viewers across its first two episodes, it joins three other HBO series in what’s now a first-ever milestone for the network: A total of four current HBO series now have what the network describes as cross-platform audiences averaging more than 15 million viewers per episode.

Here are the four series and how the averages break down.

  • House of the Dragon, season 1: 29 million viewers
  • The Last of Us, season 1: 21.3 million viewers
  • Euphoria, season 2: 19.5 million viewers
  • The White Lotus, season 2: 15.5 million viewers

Per the network: “This is the first time HBO has had multiple current series drawing more than 15 million viewers at a time across all genres. For comparison, in 2002, The Sopranos averaged an estimated 18.2 million viewers in its fourth season, with Sex and the City season 5 (13.8 million) and Six Feet Under season 2 (12.1 million) following closely behind.”

The Last of Us
A production still from the new HBO Original series “The Last of Us” Image source: HBO

What else to know about The Last of Us

In terms of what else to know about the most current show out of that bunch, some additional highlights include:

A spotlight page for The Last of Us — which currently has a near-perfect 96% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes — is available on HBO Max. It features behind-the-scenes content and access to the show’s companion podcast. There’s also an interactive flashlight to help fans find their next HBO series to watch.

New episodes of The Last of Us debut every Sunday at 9:00 p.m. ET on HBO and are available to stream on HBO Max. The finale will arrive on March 12.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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