HBO took the bold move Tuesday of renewing "Game of Thrones" after airing just a single episode.
The premium network used the same strategy of immediate renewal last September with "Boardwalk Empire" after 4.8 million tuned in to its much-hyped premiere.
Early speculation had suggested middling ratings for the Sunday night premiere of the big-budget adaptation of George R.R. Martin's epic fantasy series. But counting its three airings Sunday on HBO's main channel, 4.2 million viewers tuned in — especially impressive considering that the show's promotional platform was the low-rated miniseries "Mildred Pierce."
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"We are delighted by the way David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have brought George R.R. Martin’s amazing book series to the screen, and thrilled by the support of the media and our viewers," said Michael Lombardo, president of HBO Programming, in the network's official announcement of the renewal. "This is the continuation of an exciting creative partnership."
The viewership count of "Game of Thrones" will expand further when its Monday night audiences are factored in. HBO aired the premiere episode multiple times across six different channels.