The Game of Thrones
season 3 premiere was the show's highest-rated episode ever, no easy feat considering how powerful the competition was.
The show returned for its third season with 4.4 million viewers, up half a million from the season 2 premiere and up 200,000 from the previous high, the season 2 finale. It's also double the viewers of the series premiere two years ago.Game of Thrones Season 3 Premiere Recap>>
What makes this record even more impressive is the stiff competition Game of Thrones
faced. Not only did the season 3 premiere air on Easter, but it also aired against the finales of cable behemoths The Walking Dead
and The Bible
The Walking Dead's
season 3 finale was that show's highest-rated episode ever, with 12.4 million viewers tuning in. That's slightly more than the previous high, set two months ago with the mid-season premiere.
And The Bible
ended with 11.7 million viewers (it probably helped that the ending, featuring the resurrection of Jesus, aired on Easter).
In total, at 9pm on Sunday night, more people watched either AMC or the History Channel at 9pm than all four of the major networks combined. Next week that frees up 24 million viewers, and while some of them will certainly stick with AMC for the Mad Men
season 6 premiere, some could go to HBO's Game of Thrones
It will be interesting to see how Game of Thrones
does in its second episode when it doesn't have to worry about zombies or Jesus.
Game of Thrones
airs Sundays at 9pm on HBO.
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(Image courtesy of HBO)