Sure, The Last of Us season one finale aired the same night as the Oscars, but that didn’t stop fans of the HBO Max PlayStation adaptation from devouring the latest chapter in Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey)’s adventures in post-apocalyptic survival—setting a new ratings mark while doing so.
According to an HBO press release, the season one finale “set another ratings high on Sunday night, delivering 8.2 million viewers across HBO Max and linear telecasts, based on Nielsen and first party data.” In total, the show averages 30.4 million viewers for its first six episodes (out of a nine-episode season); the first episode alone has pulled in nearly 40 million viewers. The Last of Us is also “the most-watched show in the history of HBO Max in both Europe and Latin America,” so eat your heart out, House of the Dragon.
Word of mouth, internet-breaking buzz, and critical acclaim all factored into the show’s steady incline in viewers across its season, as HBO notes: “Debuting to 4.7 million viewers in January, it has shown consistent growth throughout its first season despite enhanced competition from live sports telecasts and awards broadcasts. Sunday night’s finale audience marked a 75% increase in debut night viewing compared to the series premiere.”
Here are HBO’s numbers for Sunday-night viewership across the season; note that episode five aired early due to the Superbowl:
- Episode 1 – 4.7 million (Jan. 15)
- Episode 2 – 5.7 million (Jan. 22)
- Episode 3 – 6.4 million (Jan. 29)
- Episode 4 – 7.5 million (Feb. 5)
- Episode 5 – 11.6 million (Feb. 10-Feb. 12)*
*Early premiere, includes data from Friday to Sunday
- Episode 6 – 7.8 million (Feb. 19)
- Episode 7 – 7.7 million (Feb. 26)
- Episode 8 – 8.1 million (March 5)
- Episode 9 – 8.2 million (March 12)
For those who just can’t get enough: HBO released a behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of The Last of Us as part of the finale. You can watch its re-airing tomorrow, March 14, at 9:00 pm ET/PT; you can also check it out as an extra attached to the season finale on HBO Max. And if you’re just now realizing you missed out on one of 2023's pop-culture triumphs, you can watch the whole series on HBO Max; the first episode is still streaming free, so even if you don’t yet have a subscription you can check it out. Season two of The Last of Us is already in the works.
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