April 1st, 2013
04:04 PM ET
"Game of Thrones" is only getting hotter.
On Sunday, a record 4.4 million viewers tuned in for the third season premiere of the HBO series. That's a 13 percent increase since its premiere last year, according to Entertainment Weekly.
When the night's two repeat airings are added in, viewership escalates to an impressive 6.7 million. Not bad, considering that it was competing with a holiday, as it was Easter Sunday, as well as the third season finale of AMC's "The Walking Dead," which also aired at 9 p.m. ET.
"Walking Dead," meanwhile, set its own record. According to the network, Sunday's finale was watched by 12.4 million, with 8.1 million in the adult demographic, making it the largest audience in the zombie series' history.
Over on the History Channel, the two-hour finale of "The Bible" miniseries wasn't far behind, pulling in 11.7 million viewers.
But the difference between "The Bible," "TWD" and "Game of Thrones" is that only the latter is just getting started. The premiere, as critics noted, may have been more leisurely paced than other episodes, but it also had to set up viewers for the multiple storylines the fantasy series contains. As The Hollywood Reporter put it, season three in a nutshell is "insanely ambitious."
But given the ratings it's drawing, it's fair to say there are TV viewers who are willing to hunker down and draw out the various threads. EW predicts that the viewership for the season opener bodes well for more highs to come.
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