The Last of Us continues to be a major rating success for HBO. While the first episode drew in an estimated 4.7 million viewers, the ratings have only gone up since then.
Season 1 episode 8, which aired last Sunday, was the most viewed episode so far, with 8.1 million viewers. This marks a 74% increase in viewership from the season premiere to the most recent episode.
It’s important to note that the 4.7 million number from the series premiere was already quite an impressive number to begin with. It marks HBO’s second most-watched series premiere in the past ten years, with only House of the Dragon getting higher numbers for its very first episode.
The virtually instant success of the series led HBO to renewing The Last of Us for a second season after the second episode was able to repeat the success of the first.
The previous most viewed episode
Season 1 episode 8’s 8.1 million people takes the record away from episode 4, which previously held the record for the highest viewership for a single episode with 7.5 million viewers. Up to that point, every episode had brought in more viewers than the last.
The fifth episode, however, was scheduled to air at the same time as the Super Bowl, so HBO decided to move the show to Friday night for that one week. It’s possible that this move caused a dip in the show’s viewership numbers.
But it seems that by this past week, the numbers have righted themselves. However, it’s very possible that the record will be broken at least one more time before the season is over.
Sunday, March 12 will be the season 1 finale. This could possibly be the highest viewed episode of the season.
Of course, it’s worth noting that the season finale of The Last of Us will be airing at the same time as the Oscars, which some are speculating might have an impact on the viewership. However, it seems that HBO does not consider the Oscars to be the same level of rating threat as the Super Bowl.
They have chosen not to move the broadcasting of the episode this time around. And, given that episode 4 of the series went up against the Grammys, and still managed to be the most viewed episode so far, there’s a good chance that they’re going to be right about that.
How viewership is calculated
A note of clarification, when taking into consideration how to calculate viewership numbers, WB takes the number of people watching the show through HBO on cable. They add the number of people who watch the episode on HBO Max, on the night the series airs.
People who watch the episode later in the week, are not counted in the episode’s total initial viewership, so in reality, the number of people watching The Last of Us each week is probably even higher.
What are your thoughts about The Last of Us season 1? Will you be watching season 2?
Share your answers in the comments below!