News Briefs: Game of Thrones Is Now HBO's Most-Watched Show Ever

By Tim Surette

Jun 06, 2014


... The Mountain just grabbed Tony Soprano's head and crushed it like a grape. Game of Thrones has become HBO's most popular series of all time, according to the network, beating The Sopranos with regard to overall audience. Game of Thrones' fourth season is averaging a gross audience of 18.4 million viewers; previous champ The Sopranos drew 18.2 million viewers with its own fourth season in 2002. I'm sure there are all sorts of claims about HBO being in more homes now so the math doesn't exactly equate, but I'm sticking with the one that makes my head explode. [HBO via press release]


... The Daytime Emmys, television's 542nd most glamorous night, right after the Teen Critics' Choice of the People Awards, will not air on television this year. But if you're savvy enough to be reading this sentence right here on the internet, you'll still be able to watch the 41st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards. The celebration of soaps and talk shows will be streamed on live the web at on Sunday, June 22 at 5pm. [Deadline]

... Lifetime has picked up four new reality shows, and if you'd like to save time, just go ahead and punch your computer screen now. Born in the Wild will follow expecting couples who want to give birth in nature without the assistance of doctors, medicine, or common sense. They'll just plop one out on a pile of leaves and gnaw through the umbilical cord like a wolf. Girlfriend Intervention is like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, if you replace "Queer" with "African-American women" and "Straight Guy" with "White Girl." Kosher Soul follows an engaged couple—an African-American man and a Jewish woman—as they approach their wedding date. Finally, Threads is Project Runway, but for teens. See? You should've just punched your computer screen at the top of this paragraph like I told you. [Deadline]

... You'll no longer have to squint to see what's happening on Big Brother, because the long-running reality show is finally making the upgrade to high-definition. Hooray, now we'll be able to see the show's racism in HD! The last primetime series to air exclusively in strain-your-eyes standard definition will be crystal clear when the new season starts on Wednesday, June 25. It's not that Big Brother wanted to be a dinosaur, it's that Big Brother is filmed with dozens of cameras, and updating to digital HD cameras was a bigger task than you might think. [Vulture]

... The CW is giving shared weekends a shot again (remember the MRC disaster?), this time by programming the Saturday-morning hours with educational children's programming in conjunction with Litton Entertainment. Ten half-hour shows will populate a five-hour block under the brand "One Magnificent Morning" (barf); among them are Dog Whisperer With Cesar Millan: Family Editionthe National-Park-exploring Rock the Park, the farm vet series Calling Dr. Pol, and nature shows The Brady Barr Experience and Expedition Wild. Hmmm. I think I'll just stay in bed. [CW via press release] 


... More Homeland casting news. Two days after Corey Stoll was added to Showtime's terrorist-huntin' drama, word from the network is that Life of Pi and Million Dollar Arm star Suraj Sharma will also join the cast in a recurring role. He'll play a Pakistani med student who meets Carrie. If she invites you upstairs for some wine and jazz, just say no, Suraj! [EW]

... On Tuesday, we told you that Malin Akerman would reprise her role on the revived Lisa Kudrow comedy The Comeback. Today I'm telling you that Kellan Lutz will be doing the same. Lutz has signed on to once again play Chris MacNess, an actor on the fake show that stars Kudrow's Valerie Chase. [The Wrap]

... Rollin' with the zombies! Jeremy Sisto (CluelessSuburgatory) is the latest addition to A&E's American adaptation of The Returned. He'll play Peter, a grief counselor who helps people grieving the loss of loved ones in a fatal bus accident. It's the meaty character of Pierre from the original. [Deadline]


... Matthew McConaughey (perhaps you've heard of him) spoke to Deadline about True Detective and said he'd be open to doing more. THERE YOU HAVE IT! Matthew McConaughey #TrueDetectiveSeason2!!! [Deadline]

... In case you didn't already know this from your Psychology 101 class, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are constructed around science, not romance. It's why the contestants go on so many adrenaline-pumping dates and why the show encourages competition, and also why most Bachelor couples don't make it past the flight home. [Time]


... I looked at all the great and sorta-great credit sequences for new midseason shows and then gave them a letter grade. Have you seen the intro for Black Sails? Because it's totally cool, man! 

... Do you like flying sharks? Then you'll love this first look at Sharknado 2

... Do you like teen wolves? Then you'll love this trailer for Teen Wolf's fourth season!

... Did you NOT like the ending of Sunday's Game of Thrones? Then you'll love this alternate version!

... Finally, if teens dry-humping each other while assessing the viability of a post-nuclear Earth is totally your jam, then you should read Kaitlin's review of the latest episode of The 100.

  • Comments (33)
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  • Dirk13 Jun 17, 2014

    What's funny is I remember the story last month is that it "almost" was the most watch, just behind this story seemed rather inevitable, no?

  • mrjimmyjames Jun 07, 2014

    I'd rather see The CW give Sundays a shot again.

  • vicbjones Jun 06, 2014

    The Daytime Emmys being exclusively online seems like a natural progression to me. Since there aren't that many daytime soap operas anymore, the award organizers probably don't have the leverage to blackmail the networks into broadcasting the ceremonies on TV like they used to.

  • kanniballl Jun 06, 2014

    I'm kind of surprised Game of Thrones is as popular as it is. It's a fantasy setting with swords, sorcery flippin' dragons; that is FAR from a mainstream genre. Sure people love the genre (myself included) but it kind of has a stigma.

    Meanwhile The Sopranos was a bit more accessible: you didn't have to be fan of some genre to like it. Drama, action, s*x, mafia, etc. all without the wrappings of a knightly fantasy.

    So... I don't know if all of this is because the show is awesome (it is), the hype (it's there), or because more people have HBO now.

  • Lars900 Jun 07, 2014

    I think a pretty big part of the people who watch it watch it for the shock value, the fights, sex,... and not so much very the amazing dialogue and story.
    Also GoT might be fantasy but it still comes over as very realistic, the choices people make,.. it's more drama than fantasy IMO. The fantasy is also pretty mild I think, it's not like there's a wizard who can blast fire balls at people etc. The fantasy aspect is not the thing that attracts people the most to the series. (I've got a friend of mine who absolutely hates fantasy but still this show stands as one of his favourites he has ever seen just because there is so much more to it than the fantasy) .

  • torque_smacky Jun 06, 2014

    When you said "giving shared weekends a shot" I thought you meant "a gunshot to the head" because that's what it is.

    The CW was the very last broadcast network to bother with Saturday Morning programming for children (as in, the non-educational kind that kids might have a chance of actually watching). The death of that block is the death of a 50-year-old institution. Should have mentioned that, Tim, it's kinda significant.

  • Writerpatrick Jun 06, 2014

    People have been able to use the Internet to catch up on shows now in a way it wasn't possible in 2002. And I wonder if they're including online streaming from the HBO site, which wasn't possible when The Sopranos aired.

    It seems like Big Brother is no longer going to be the dumping ground of all of
    CBS's SD cameras. Even Canada uses widescreen HD. Although I wonder what sort of effect it will have on the quadcam for those who use it. Now all they have to do is to make the streaming video free like everyone else in the world.

    CW has been running anime on Saturday morning and was about the last trace of what Saturday morning TV use to be like. Now they're doing what everyone else has done and are just giving up on it. R.I.P. Saturday Morning.

  • dark7angel Jun 06, 2014

    Unpopular opinion but GoT has been dropping in quality the past two seasons. The first season is definitely still its best!

  • CrazyVaclav Jun 06, 2014

    "Unpopular"? Dunno about that but I'd say "Wrong" instead, I've found the last two seasons to be just as good.

  • dark7angel Jun 06, 2014

    And that's your opinion, which is fine since we all are entitled to one, but just because mine differs from yours doesn't make it wrong. Art is after all subjective and different people like different things.

  • CrazyVaclav Jun 09, 2014

    And I get that. I just fail to see how you can come to that opinion! Please tell me how you think the show has declined in quality, as I just can't see it!

  • dark7angel Jun 09, 2014

    Unnecessary changes to the source material that lead to a simplified black and white version of a very rich and and grey world. Stalling episodes and character arcs with filler made up scenes so they can cram the important stuff into a 10 minute scene in the end on an episode or the end of the season. Characters losing sides of their personalities that made them more round, more tridimensional, more (or less) sympathetic.

    Basically, I had my expectations way too high after a pretty much flawless first season and those expectations weren't met by the most recent seasons.

  • Hungry_Homer111 Jun 06, 2014

    It's not really surprising about Game of Thrones. It seemed to continually break its own high records, plus I recently saw an article saying that it was one of the highest-rated TV series on TV right now (including non-cable channels). Plus, it seems like it would appeal to both the viewers who prefer intelligent dialogue/character- focused television and fans of the more "fun" shows with action.

    I'm not too far into it myself (I'm rewatching the first season, to get my dad into the show), but it seems like it's a great representation of the books I love* (despite some limitations of the TV medium vs the nature of books, plus the 10 episode seasons), and it does seem worthy of the ratings it gets.

    *Yes, I am aware that they start having more changes from the books in later seasons.

  • hulseyclint Jun 06, 2014

    I wonder what the numbers for GoT will be when you add in all the people who pirate the show. When the sopranos was airing, streaming and piracy were not that prevelant for TV shows.

  • funnyl3unni Jun 06, 2014

    I don't see how anyone would be surprised by GoT inching out The Sopranos for highest overall viewership. Every s2 GoT episode that has aired it seems a new record has been broken for viewership - it was only a matter of time. I never watched The Soprano's - because back when it aired streaming etc. wasn't really a thing and I've always been too cheap to pay for HBO - so I can't speak to whether it's deserved or not quality wise.

    On another note, if the Emmy's don't rain down upon GoT this year (soecifically Peter Dinklage) it will be a travesty.

  • jjafargi Jun 06, 2014

    GoT is currently in Season 4, not Season 2.

  • funnyl3unni Jun 06, 2014

    I know … typo lol. I was talking about the second book with someone while I was typing, apparently I should've chosen one or the other!

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