After reaching HBO’s second most-watched series premiere in more than a decade, “The Last of Us” is now reaching an even wider audience and breaking a new record for the pay TV channel.
According to measurements from Nielsen, combined with first-party data from Warner Bros. Discovery, Episode 2 drew 5.7 million viewers through linear broadcasts on HBO and streams on HBO Max. That’s a 22% increase from last week’s record-breaking 4.7 million, a number of which Warner Bros. Discovery later reported that it had already risen to 10 million after two days of availability.
According to HBO, the jump from first-time viewership for the premiere to Episode 2’s debut audience is the “biggest Week 2 viewership growth for an HBO Original drama series in the network’s history.”
The network also offered another update regarding the series premiere viewership, stating that “After a full week of availability, Episode 1 now attracts 18 million viewers, nearly 4x more than its premiere night audience.”
The instant popularity of “The Last of Us” is not surprising as the drama series is an adaptation of the mega hit video game of the same name that has sold over 10 million copies worldwide. The only comparable HBO series in recent memory is ‘House of the Dragon’, the ‘Game of Thrones’ sequel series which debuted in August 2022. Both series significantly outperformed the launch of both seasons of “Euphoria,” which became HBO’s second. biggest series of all time after “Game of Thrones” during its second season in early 2022.
(For comparison, “Euphoria” season 2 premiered to 2.4 million viewers and grew to 6.6 million by the finale, though it should be noted that “House of the Dragon” and “The Last of Us” had the advantage that they debuted as parts of franchises with already established fan bases.)
HBO noted last week that “Sunday night viewership for an HBO series typically represents 20%-40% of the show’s total gross audience per episode.” Therefore, episode 2 of “The Last of Us”, titled “Infected”, can be expected to reach another milestone soon.
Set twenty years after the destruction of modern civilization, “The Last of Us” stars Pedro Pascal as Joel, a hardened survivor hired to smuggle 14-year-old Ellie (Bella Ramsey) out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts out as a small job quickly turns into a relentless, heartbreaking journey as they both must cross the US and depend on each other to survive.
“The Last of Us” is a co-production with Sony Pictures Television. Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann are writing the series and serving as executive producers along with Carolyn Strauss, Evan Wells, Asad Qizilbash, Carter Swan and Rose Lam. The original video game was developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for PlayStation platforms. PlayStation Productions and Naughty Dog are both co-producing the series with Word Games and the Mighty Mint.