The blood-filled finale of the fourth season of HBO's fantasy series Game of Thrones was watched by 7.1 million viewers in the United States, the network said on Monday, topping the 5.4 million people who watched last season's closing episode.
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The Sunday episode of Game of Thrones, titled The Children, concluded with many of the show's leading characters making pivotal decisions that will set their path for next season while a crucial few met their demise.
HBO said a gross audience of 9.3 million viewers watched the episode across live and replayed airings. The Time Warner Inc-owned premium cable network has not yet released the total viewership, which includes video on demand and mobile streaming.
The show has surpassed The Sopranos to become HBO's most popular series ever, and 6.6 million viewers tuned into the season four premiere. The average gross audience watching the show across all platforms, including delayed viewing, has been 18.6 million per episode this season.
Game of Thrones is a medieval fantasy epic based on the best-selling books by writer George R.R. Martin about fictional families fighting for control of a mythical land, Westeros.
The show, which first aired in 2011, stars Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke and Maisie Williams, and is sold to more than 200 markets outside the United States.
Meanwhile, The Voice Australia has recorded its lowest Monday night ratings for the season after again losing out to renovation reality series House Rules.
The Nine Network singing series has been in a ratings slump since the blind auditions finished a month ago.
From a season high launch of 2.155 million on May 4, there were 1.373 million watching the sing-offs episode of The Voice on Monday.
The ratings figure was not far off the lowest for the year which was 1.360 million on June 9 - recorded on the Sunday of the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
On Monday night, The Voice was second and soundly beaten by the Seven Network’s House Rules which had an audience of 1.572 million.
The renovation show has been on upward ratings curve this year and has regularly beaten The Voice on Monday’s. On a brighter note for Nine, the second episode of the new season of House Husbands had an increased audience.
After launching with 891,000 last week, the improved to 935,000 viewers and ninth overall. However, House Hubsands will move to Sunday nights from this weekend and immediately follow The Voice which now progresses to live shows.
Seven’s factual show What Really Happens in Bali slipped to 11th with 806,000 viewers and Network Ten’s best performing show was MasterChef.
The elimination of Byron Finnerty attracted an audience of 776,000 to land MasterChef 12th place on OzTAM’s overnight ratings.
Most watched free-to-air shows on Monday
1. House Rules (Seven) - 1.572 million
2. The Voice (Nine) - 1.373 million
3. Seven News (Seven) - 1.241 million
4. Nine News (Nine) - 1.204 million
5. Nine News 6.30pm (Nine) - 1.143 million
6. Seven News/Today Tonight (Seven) - 1.128 million
7. A Current Affair (Nine) - 1.071 million
8. Home And Away (Seven) - 963,000
9. House Husbands (Nine) - 935,000
10. ABC News (ABC1) - 854,000
11. What Really Happens In Bali (Seven) - 806,000
12. MasterChef (Ten) - 776,000
- Reuters, with AAP