HBO’s The Last of Us might be stepping aside for the Superbowl (catch the next episode this Friday, rather than the usual Sunday), but it’s still becoming a force of nature as far as ratings are concerned on its own. After the massive buzz around episode three, episode four boasted the highest numbers to date.
According to an HBO press release, episode four, “Please Hold to My Hand,” “delivered another series high Sunday night, with 7.5 million viewers across HBO Max and linear telecasts. Viewership was up 17% from Episode 3 last Sunday and 60% above the series debut night in January ... the series has grown its audience each Sunday night with the release of new episodes.” What the press release doesn’t mention, but Variety’s post on the news does, is that the Grammys—which had its best showing in three years with 12.4 million viewers—aired opposite the most recent episode of The Last of Us. Even with the music awards in the picture, the Pedro Pascal-Bella Ramsey apocalyptic horror series based on the PlayStation game managed to build on its viewership.
You gotta think the power of Linda Ronstadt had something to do with it—or at least all the powerful emotions stirred up by “Long, Long Time,” the much-discussed third episode of the series. You have to imagine curious viewers heard about the episode, caught up on the series, and then watched episode four as soon as it streamed. As mentioned, this week’s a bit of an odd one for The Last of Us—episode five will debut early on HBO Max and HBO On Demand starting Friday at 9:00 pm ET/6:00 pm PT to get ahead of the Superbowl, though it will also be dropping on HBO proper at its usual Sunday at 9:00 pm time. Then, for episode six, it’ll be back to Sunday nights until the finale on March 12.
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