HBO News Blog

HBO’s Most Viewed Series

By Cian Gaffney on Jun 6, 2013 to HBO News

As a result of new data reported by Vulture and covered by WinterIsComing, it has become clear that Game of Thrones season 3 ranks just behind The Sopranos season 5 as the most viewed HBO season since 2004. The fantasy series also ranks above other stellar HBO classics such as The Wire, Sex and the City and Rome.


It is clear from this chart that many HBO shows which are currently airing are some of the most viewed, something which bodes very well for the future of these shows and potential new shows. Of the charted shows, Game of Thrones, True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, The Newsroom, Girls, Eastbound & Down, Veep and Treme are all still going strong, with at least one more season each confirmed. These comprise over half the charted shows.

Game of Thrones has recently become one of the most viewed HBO shows overall, but it is interesting to note that the third season of True Blood and first season of Boardwalk Empire do not rank too far behind. True Blood in particular looks to be hot on the heels of Thrones, and may even overtake it at some stage. Josef Adalian of Vulture makes an interesting point on the overall statistics:

It’s worth noting here that, while GoT has passed True Blood and is drawing more viewers than the final seasons of The Sopranos, new technology makes it tough to compare tune-in figures. HBO GO had only been around for a few months when True Blood hit its 2010 peak, and it didn’t even exist when Tony Soprano ruled HBO. Video on demand also wasn’t as widely available as it is now back during the era of The Sopranos, nor were DVRs. That makes the numbers forThe Sopranos all the more impressive: As big as GoT is, it’s nowhere near the monster hit its Sunday predecessor was (nor has it amassed anywhere near the Emmy haul of David Chase’s show). At least not yet.

After airing such a game changing episode last Sunday, it wouldn’t be surprising if Thrones season 3 surpasses Sopranos season 5 next week as the most viewed HBO season.  If not, there’s always season 4!  If it does, you can be sure we at HBOWatch will let you know.

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10 Comments on "HBO’s Most Viewed Series"

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love got and true blood :)

Sopranos, as many shows back then (see, for example, Seinfeld) *looks* much bigger, because people had to tune in live, and live tune-in is tracked very closely by Nielsen.

From experience, Nielsen is, only half-heartedly, playing catch up when it comes to capturing set-top boxes, online views, and, yes, piracy.

A huge fan of both, I would nonetheless say that, could we truly look at the aggregate, Game of Thrones would crush Sopranos, while on air. Now, when speaking of total views by anyone anywhere up until now? Sopranos has quite the head start.

Its most certainly your most watched show, considering that I doubt this accounts for torrents, people watching in groups, streams etc. Regardless, its not hard to see why its watched by so many people, this is the one show that I’ve gotten into late, and watched EVERY single episode of,(up to the end of season 4), without slowing down or getting bored ONCE. In fact, I could continue! Love this show.

what about DEXTER ????? loved six feet under!!!! where’s HUNG that scored pretty good!!!!

Six Feet Under was great!!!! So was the Wire, every season; and Deadwood and Rome. True Blood only 1st and 2nd seasons. Broadwalk Empire is good too (still loving Omar/Chalky). Game of Thrones is definitely the best of 2013 and hopefully 2014. Can’t wait for Spring. I’m done with book 5!!!

Six Feet Under was superb.

love boardwalk empire

I also don’t get how the account for group watching. It seems to me that Game of Thrones is an EVENT show where groups of 3-7 people get together and watch. Not saying that this didn’t happen with The Sopranos but Hung or Boardwalk?

I wonder how they figure out how many people per HBO subscription are watching Game of Thrones.

I think the DVR aspect cancels out with the pirating of Game of Thrones so I say the Sopranos and Game of Thrones are pretty even in terms of viewership.

Yeah, I think Josef makes a good point.

It probably would go The Sopranos, SatC, Game of Thrones if we had the digital element/numbers that we have with Game of Thrones. BUT that being said Game of Thrones isn’t even 1/2 way over… And at the pace it’s been growing I’m not betting against it!


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