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Game of Thrones Sets Another Ratings Record

6.95 million viewers turn out for Sunday night’s episode

Whether they’re going up against zombies or dragons, the broadcast networks can’t seem to catch a break in the Sunday night 9 p.m. slot.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, last night’s installment of HBO’s Game of Thrones scared up a staggering 6.95 million viewers, breaking the previous record (6.64 million) it set during the April 6 season premiere.

Titled “Oathkeeper,” the episode averaged a 3.7 in the adults 18-49 demo, up one-tenth of a ratings point from the season opener’s 3.6 rating. All told, Game of Thrones tied CBS, NBC and Fox’s combined performance in the demo at 9 p.m.

The uptick in Thrones’ deliveries—last night’s show was up 5 percent versus the April 20 telecast—coincided with another weak performance by the Big Four. ABC’s Resurrection dropped another 10 percent in the demo, notching a series-low 1.9 rating, while CBS’ The Good Wife was flat with a 1.3. NBC’s Believe showed no change with a 1.1 rating, bringing its overall time-slot average to a 1.1.

Fox’s Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey was unchanged with a 1.4 in the dollar demo.

Thrones’ dominion over the TV landscape is a recent phenomenon, although the show has grown steadily from week to week and season to season. Last spring’s 10-episode run averaged 4.97 million total viewers and a 2.6 in the demo.

As spectacular as Thrones’ rise has been, nothing can lay a mitt on AMC’s The Walking Dead. Season 4 of the zombie apocalypse drama delivered a phenomenal 6.8 in the demo, making it the single highest-rated scripted series on TV. It, too, haunts the Sunday 9 p.m. slot.

While Thrones and The Walking Dead have been renewed for future seasons, the broadcast competition is far less secure. The aforementioned Believe is almost certainly a goner, and while CBS has picked up The Good Wife for another season, Cosmos is probably a one-off. With a 1.6 in the demo, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s science spectacular is quite literally in the middle of the freshman-series pack; that said, the astrophysicist told Adweek that he very likely wouldn’t be interested in hosting Cosmos for a second trip around the multiverse.

ABC, meanwhile, is expected to commit to at least a limited second run of Resurrection, which currently stands as the season’s No. 3 new series. (The eerie drama is tied with Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, averaging a 2.6 in the demo through its first seven episodes.)

Elsewhere on the cable dial, AMC’s Mad Men was up 17 percent to 2.02 million viewers and a 0.7 rating, while lead-in Turn dropped to a series-low 1.3 million viewers and a 0.3. HBO’s Silicon Valley was flat (1.53 million/0.8), and Veep jumped 25 percent to a 0.5 rating.

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