‘The Last of Us’ hits monster numbers after episode 3 ‘masterpiece’


HBO has four current original series averaging at least 15 million viewers per episode, the company and Nielsen announced Tuesday, marking a major comeback for the network that suffered in the last few years, particularly since Game Of Thrones stopped airing.

Its latest success, ‘The Last of Us’, this week dished up one of the best, albeit controversial, storylines in recent television history, opting to move away from its video game storyline.

Instead, episode 3 focused almost entirely on the tear-jerking love story of Frank (Australia’s own Murray Bartlett) and Bill (Nick Offerman).

Episode 3 of The Last of Us has been described as a television masterpiece. Image: HBO

“This episode was a lovingly produced, extremely well-written story about two people who fell in love during the apocalypse and struggled and persevered until they couldn’t anymore,” writes Forbes Senior Contributor Erik Kain.

You can read the full episode 3 recap here.

Key Facts

House Of The Dragon, the Game Of Thrones spin-off that launched last year, averaged 29 million viewers in its first season.

The second season of Euphoria, which aired in 2021 and 2022, averaged 19.5 million viewers.

The second season of The White Lotus, which also aired last year, averaged 15.5 million viewers.

The first two episodes of the first season of The Last Of Us, which started airing this month, averaged 21.3 million viewers.

In 2020, HBO lost over half its linear audience of viewers ages 18 to 24, a key demographic for the premium cable network; overall viewership declined 38% that year, and 36% in 2021Variety reported.

In 2022, HBO’s viewership experienced no change, according to Variety.

Big Number

18.1%. That’s how much viewership on HBO Max increased in December 2022, according to Nielsen. It represented the largest usage increase that month. HBO Max viewership amounted for 1.4% of TV consumption that month.


HBO was the most-awarded network at the 2022 Emmys, with 12 trophies.

Key Background

Despite its current success, HBO and HBO Max have come under fire in the last few months as leadership has made changes to its lineup amid WarnerMedia’s merger with Discovery. Since Warner Bros.

Discovery was formed, cost-cutting measures have hit the network, including the cancellation of shows like Westworld and the removal of dozens of other programs.

The price of HBO Max recently increased by US$1 a month. Later this year, HBO Max and Discovery+ will combine into one unified streaming service.

As of September, HBO, HBO Max and Discovery+ had nearly 95 million subscribers. Earlier this month, The Last Of Us drew the largest viewership for HBO since 2010.

This story was first published on forbes.com