By Rick Kissell
HBO’s Game of Thrones continues to grow in popularity, with Sunday’s fifth-season finale drawing the show’s largest audience ever — despite going up against the NBA Finals in most of the country.
According to Nielsen “live plus same-day” estimates, Thrones averaged 8.1 million viewers, up 13 percent from both the previous week (7.14 million) and last year’s finale (7.09 million). The previous series high for the show came with its fifth-season premiere in April, which drew about 8 million.
Sunday’s ratings growth is a continuation of a trend that has seen a show once considered “niche” become cable’s second most popular program, behind only AMC’s The Walking Dead.
The Game of Thrones finale also set Twitter ablaze, landing atop the Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings weekly top 10 series list with 436,000 event-related Tweets that were seen by a unique audience of 5.1 million people. That was more than twice as many as the next closest series on the list, ABC’s The Bachelorette (2.09 million) and ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars (1.92 million).
More to come …