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“The Last of Us” Breaks Records with Largest Same-Day Audience for HBO Season Finale

TLOU ep9 Ellie
Bella Ramsey as Ellie in episode 9 of HBO's "The Last of Us"
NOTE: This article is 7 months old and may not include the most recent information.

If you’re a fan of HBO’s latest hit show, The Last of Us, you’re not alone. The show, which is based on the popular PlayStation game of the same name, has been setting records for the cable network since it premiered in January.

The show takes place 20 years after modern civilization has been destroyed, and follows the story of Joel, a hardened survivor who is hired to smuggle Ellie, a 14-year-old girl, out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal journey as they both must traverse the U.S. and depend on each other for survival.

According to HBO, the average audience for the show’s first six episodes is now about 30.4 million viewers across all platforms, with the series premiere approaching 40 million. Outside of the U.S., The Last Of Us is now the most-watched show in the history of HBO Max in both Europe and Latin America.

The show has been growing its audience consecutively for the first four weeks, and the premiere episode brought in a same-day audience of 4.7 million, which was the largest debut after House of the Dragon since Boardwalk Empire launched in 2010. Episode 3’s audience was up 37%, with 6.4 million people tuning in across HBO Max and linear channels — and that’s with the first half of the episode going up against the AFC Championship on the east coast. By Episode 4, viewership had grown to 7.5 million viewers — despite competing with the 65th annual Grammy Awards.

HBO made the decision to release Episode 5 early on HBO Max, so as not to compete directly with the Super Bowl. But even with this move, The Last of Us still hit a milestone the week that Episode 5 debuted, with the series being streamed for more than 1 billion minutes during the week of January 30 to February 5.

Nielsen data only includes viewing on HBO Max, and Nielsen doesn’t break down viewership by episode. So while it’s not a complete picture, it gives additional context to the series’ growing popularity. HBO’s viewership data indicates that 11.6 million people tuned in across the weekend for Episode 5.

In the home stretch, the same-day audience inched toward 8 million viewers, breaking that milestone with the penultimate episode on March 5, and the series finale drawing 8.2 million viewers across HBO’s linear channel and digital platforms on March 12. This is the largest same-day audience to date for the show.

The Last of Us stars Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey, Gabriel Luna, Anna Torv, Nico Parker, Murray Bartlett, and Nick Offerman, as well as Melanie Lynskey, Storm Reid, Merle Dandridge, Jeffrey Pierce, Lamar Johnson, Keivonn Woodard, Graham Greene, Elaine Miles, Ashley Johnson, and Troy Baker. The show is written and executive produced by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, and is a co-production with Sony Pictures Television along with PlayStation Productions, Word Games, The Mighty Mint, and Naughty Dog. Carolyn Strauss, Evan Wells, Asad Qizilbash, Carter Swan, and Rose Lam also executive produce.

If you haven’t checked out The Last of Us yet, now is the perfect time to dive in and see what all the fuss is about. With record-breaking viewership numbers and critical acclaim, this show is not to be missed.

Trevor Decker




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