Game of Thrones beheaded its own ratings record with Sunday’s fourth-season premiere, averaging 6.6 million viewers at 9 p.m. ET/PT, a 50% jump over last spring’s 4.4 million opener.
The episode marked HBO’s biggest audience for any program since The Sopranos‘ 2007 finale, which drew 11.9 million, and bested Thrones‘ own best of 5.5 million set last May. An additional 1.6 million watched reruns later Sunday night.
The strong showing for the medieval fantasy series helped launch critically praised comedy Silicon Valley, which followed, claiming 2 million viewers at 10 p.m., which marked HBO’s biggest comedy premiere in five years.
But the third-season return of Veep, at 10:30, did not fare as well, claiming 955,000 viewers, its smallest total since the show’s first season in 2012. Both comedies added about half a million more viewers with two replays later Sunday night.