"Game of Thrones" brutally slaughtered and decapitated its previous ratings record with Sunday night's episode, while History's "Vikings" sent its first season to Valhalla with decent numbers that fell short of its March premiere, preliminary numbers indicate.
"Game of Thrones," airing Sunday at 9 p.m., amassed a record 5.3 million total viewers. That's a series high for HBO's dragons-and-swords epic, and the third week in a row it has hit a new record. Last week's episode drew 4.9 million total viewers with its initial airing.
With repeated plays factored in, "Game of Thrones" amassed 6.7 million total viewers for the episode. The series is now in its third season.
"Game of Thrones" appeared to boost HBO's "Veep" as well: The Julia Louis-Dreyfus political comedy hit a season high of 1.3 million total viewers with its 10 p.m. airing. Across two plays, "Veep" accumulated 1.7 million total viewers.
Meanwhile, History's "Vikings" scored 3.6 million total viewers with its Season 1 finale at 10 p.m. -- an impressive number, but not anywhere near the 6.2 million that the series drew with its March 3 premiere. (Granted, the hugely successful miniseries "The Bible" led into the "Vikings" premiere.)
Throughout its nine-week season, "Vikings" averaged 4.3 million total viewers, with 1.8 million of them in the 18-49 demographic most important to advertisers. The series has been renewed for a 10-episode second season, which is scheduled to premiere next year.