Sunday’s episode of “The White Lotus” dropped jaws and brought in eyes.
Episode 5 of the anthology series’ second season was viewed by 2.3 million people in its first night — more than any previous episode of the series — according to Warner Bros. Discovery. This statistic is calculated based on a combination of linear viewing on the HBO cable channel measured by Nielsen and WBD’s own data regarding HBO Max streams.
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This marks a 23% jump from the previous series high, which belonged to the Season 1 finale, which brought in 1.9 million viewers when it debuted last August. Additionally, the episode showed 28% growth when compared to Episode 4.
Though data about Episodes 2 through 4 was not provided, WBD now says that viewership of Season 2 has increased with every episode since it 1.5 million viewers tuned in for Episode 1. The season premiere’s audience has now reached 9.5 million, which outranks the Season 1 average of 9.3 viewers per episode over time.
It’s not surprising that Episode 5 got so much traction, as it instantly set social media ablaze thanks to a shocking sex scene in its final minutes. (For spoilers, and to read series creator Mike White’s ideas about the scene, read Variety‘s exclusive interview here.)
“The White Lotus” was originally intended as a limited series, but ended up being renewed for a second season after garnering solid acclaim from critics and audiences alike. Season 1 was set at a White Lotus resort in Maui, while Season 2 takes place in Sicily. HBO renewed the series for Season 3 earlier this month, though casting and location details are yet to come.
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