The April 6 season premiere of Game of Thrones delivered the show’s biggest audience ever on Sunday night. The fantasy drama’s fourth season debuted with 6.6 million viewers, making it HBO’s most-watched program since 2007’s The Sopranos series finale, which brought in 11.9 million viewers.
The Season 4 premiere ratings show enormous potential growth for Game of Thrones year-to-year. The debut is 2.2 million higher than Game of Thrones Season 3, which opened to 4.4 million viewers. The season peaked with 5.5 million and ended with 5.4 million for the finale. Given Game of Thrones’ track record of growing its audience as the season progresses, it’s possible for the show to outdo The Sopranos and eventually become HBO’s highest-rated program of all time.
Some audiences, however, were shut out of viewing the Game of Thrones Season 4 premiere: Online viewership was so huge that the cable network’s streaming service HBO Go crashed due to “overwhelming demand.” HBO Go users suffered the same problem during the March 9 finale of True Detective.