HBO's Game of Thrones reached series-high ratings on Sunday with its Season 7 finale, which drew 16.5 million total viewers.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, 12.1 million viewers tuned in for the 9 p.m. airing of the super-sized "The Dragon and the Wolf," 13 percent more than the record-setting audience two weeks earlier. That's also a 36-percent increase from the previous season's finale. (The 16.5 million figure takes into account night-of streams live viewership and night-of streaming.)
In its abbreviated penultimate season, Game of Thrones has averaged a whopping 31 million for each of its seven episodes (which includes live, time-shifted, on-demand and streaming plays), an increase of 34 percent from the previous record set with Season 6.
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The record-shattering rates arrive amid a hack of HBO's computer system that resulted in the release of some materials for Game of Thrones, as well as episode leaks attributed to the cable network's international partners.
An estimated 90 percent of HBO's U.S. subscribers watch Game of Thrones, which The Hollywood Reporter characterizes as "unquestionably both higher-rated and a bigger audience draw" than AMC's The Walking Dead.
Game of Thrones is expected to begin production on the eighth, and final, season in October. The six-episode series finale is expected to debut in either the latter half of 2018 or in early 2019.