For the first time in its eight seasons, “Game of Thrones” officially finished first in the weekly prime-time television ratings, with Sunday’s 81-minute episode averaging the second-most viewers in the HBO fantasy drama’s history, according to live-plus-same-day figures released today by Nielsen.
Sunday’s episode, “The Long Night,” averaged 12.017 million viewers to be the most-watched prime-time program between April 22 and Sunday. The figure does not include viewing on a streamed basis. Previous “Game of Thrones” episodes were likely the most-watched for a week when streaming figures were included.
“The Long Night” topped the eighth-season premiere, which aired April 14 and officially averaged 11.76 million viewers, to be “Game of Thrones”’ second most-watched episode. The most-watched episode was the seventh-season finale which averaged 12.072 million viewers on Aug. 27, 2017.
The most-watched “Game of Thrones” episode over its first six seasons was the sixth-season finale, which averaged 8.89 million viewers on June 26, 2016.
Two other programs last week averaged more than 10 million viewers — the back-to- back CBS comedies “The Big Bang Theory” and “Young Sheldon” — which averaged 11.849 million and 10.458 million.
There were two programs averaging more than 10 million viewers the corresponding week last season, “The Big Bang Theory” and “Young Sheldon.”
The premiere of the eight-episode CBS limited series, “The Red Line” was third in its 8-10 p.m. Sunday time slot and 31st for the week, averaging 4.795 million viewers.
The combined viewership of coverage of the first round of the NFL draft Thursday on ESPN and ABC totaled 9.579 million viewers, a 4.1% increase over last year’s total of 9.199 million for ESPN and Fox’s simulcast of the NFL Network’s coverage.
The combined figures would have placed it third for the week.
The growth stems from ABC’s first prime-time draft coverage, which focused on what it described as “the journey of NFL draft prospects,” averaged 4.564 million viewers, 35th for the week, a 22 percent increase over the 3.742 million-average for Fox’s simulcast of the NFL Network’s coverage last year.
ESPN’s traditional draft telecast averaged 5.015 million viewers, 27th for the week, an 8% decrease from last year’s 5.457 million average.
Figures for the first-round coverage on the NFL Network and the Spanish-language ESPN Deportes cable network were not immediately available.
CBS had each of three most-watched programs following “Game of Thrones” to finish first for the eighth consecutive week, 14th time in 15 weeks and 19th in the 31-week-old 2018-19 prime-time television season, averaging 5.82 million viewers.
NBC was second after back-to-back third-place finishes, averaging 4.4 million viewers. Its most-watched program was “Chicago Fire,” sixth for the week, averaging 8.11 million viewers.
ABC was third, averaging 3.96 million viewers. Its most-watched program was the Sunday edition of “American Idol,” fifth for the week, averaging 8.737 million viewers.
Fox was fourth for the 15th consecutive week, averaging 2.54 million viewers for its 15 hours of programming. Its most-watched show was “9-1-1,” 20th for the week, averaging 5.998 million viewers.
CBS and ABC both broadcast 22 hours of prime-time programming for ratings purposes and NBC 21 hours, 52 minutes.
Fox News Channel was the most-watched cable network for the 14th time in 15 weeks, averaging 2.267 million viewers. TNT was second for the second consecutive week, thanks again to NBA playoffs coverage, averaging 2.098 million viewers.
NFL draft coverage boosted ESPN to third, four spots higher than the previous week, averaging 1.591 million viewers.
The most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was Telemundo’s coverage of the Billboard Latin Music Awards which averaged 2.413 million viewers, 92nd overall.
Telemundo averaged 1.51 million viewers to be the most-watched Spanish-language network for the second consecutive week after 24 consecutive second-place finishes behind Univision. Univision finished second, averaging 1.28 million viewers, followed by UniMas, which averaged 320,000, Estrella TV, which averaged 220,000, and Azteca America, which averaged 60,000.
ABC’s “World News Tuesday evening with David Muir” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 22nd consecutive week and 73rd time in the past 74 weeks, averaging 8.249 million viewers for its Monday through Thursday newscasts.
The “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 7.678 million viewers.
The “CBS Evening News” averaged 5.611 million viewers. It has finished third each week since the week of Sept. 25-29, 2006.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were HBO’s “Game of Thrones”; CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” “Young Sheldon” and “60 Minutes”; the Sunday edition of ABC’s “American Idol”; NBC’s “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago Med”; CBS’ “Mom” and “Blue Bloods”; and the Monday edition of NBC’s “The Voice.”