‘House of the Dragon’ is the biggest HBO series premiere in history

Milly Alcock as Rhaenyra Targaryen in HBO’s “House of the Dragon,” a prequel to “Game of Thrones.”

Discovery of Warner Bros.

HBO’s ‘House of the Dragon’ had some very big shoes to fill, following in the footsteps of the mega hit ‘Game of Thrones’. It looks like fans of the high fantasy series were at least intrigued enough to settle in to watch the show’s first episode, leading up to HBO’s biggest series premiere in its history.

Monday, Warner Bros. Discovery revealed that 9.986 million viewers on linear platforms and HBO Max tuned in to watch the first episode of the prequel series on Sunday night. This is the highest ratings of any new original series in HBO history, the company said.

The company said the Sunday night viewership for an HBO series is typically around 20% to 40% of the show’s total viewership.

“It was wonderful to see millions of ‘Game of Thrones’ fans come back to Westeros with us last night,” said Casey Bloys, chief content officer for HBO and HBO Max.

“House of the Dragon” tells the story of the Targaryen Civil War which took place approximately 200 years before the events depicted in “Game of Thrones”. It is based on the novel “Fire and Blood” by George RR Martin. Unlike Martin’s other books in the “Song of Ice and Fire” series, this one features an omniscient narrator who documents stories based on collected accounts of events. In some cases, these stories contradict each other and there are multiple versions of events.

The stakes are high for “House of the Dragon,” which has arrived on HBO and HBO Max as new CEO David Zaslav is looking for some fat to cut. Cost-cutting measures have become the status quo at the recently merged company, including layoffs and content eliminations from HBO Max.

While Warner Bros. Discovery is looking to save money, it’s also looking to consolidate its streaming services, which will be expensive and take time.

“House of the Dragon”, only the second entrant in its Game of Thrones franchise, has a lot to prove and live up to. The final season of ‘Game of Thrones’ left a bitter taste in many fans’ mouths as the showrunners wrote beyond the events in material created by author Martin, who has yet to complete the season. history in his books.

“House of the Dragon” holds an 83% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes out of 413 reviews, as of Monday afternoon. For comparison, the first season of “Game of Thrones” released in 2011 had a “Fresh” rating of 90%. In fact, every season except the last season had a score above 90%. Season eight generated a 55% rating.

Analysts, investors and, most importantly, Warner Bros. executives. Discovery will be watching “House of the Dragon” viewership metrics carefully going forward to see if they can maintain momentum over the 10-episode run.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. Rotten Tomatoes is owned by NBCUniversal.

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