The numbers are in and it’s officially official: Westworld is a hit. The highly anticipated HBO drama series wasn’t without its difficulties, as reports of production troubles and the total shut-down of filming for two months had folks a bit nervous about the final product. But the series premiered swimmingly this summer and last night capped its 10-episode first season with stellar ratings numbers, drawing over 2.2 million viewers for the 90-minute season finale. That’s a series high for the sci-fi Western show and a rise of 7% versus last week’s penultimate episode, ending things on a very high note.
Indeed, if you include replays and viewing on HBO Go and HBO Now, the finale numbers grow to 3.6 million, bringing the show’s Season 1 average to 12 million viewers across all platforms. How high is that in the realm of pay cable? Well at an average of 12 million viewers, Westworld now stands as the most-watched first season of an HBO series ever.
Of course, that moniker is a bit misleading as shows like The Sopranos and even the first season of Game of Thrones aired without the benefit of HBO’s streaming service, which has allowed cord-cutters to gain access to the pay cable channel’s programming for a fee. This, in turn, has greatly improved HBO’s reach in an era where more and more people are going without cable and subsisting on streaming services and such for their TV viewing needs. This is how HBO Go—an on-demand HBO streaming service—was born, and indeed it is likely a huge factor in that ratings record for Westworld.
So these are deeply encouraging numbers for HBO, although the network’s original drama programming slate is a little scarce at the moment so the wait until 2018 for Westworld Season 2 is gonna hurt a bit. Next up is The Young Pope and they’ve also got The Wire creator David Simon’s The Deuce on tap for 2017, but neither of those have the same kind of genre appeal as Westworld, so the series’ record is likely to stand for a bit yet.