The Last of Us was the sixth most-watched show on Nielsen's January 16-January 22 charts, officially outpacing House of the Dragon during the same interval.
HBO’s The Last Of Us series is on track to be a certified hit, debuting at number six on the Nielsen streaming charts. According to a report from Deadline, this places the live-action adaptation of the hit 2013 game at 837 million minutes viewed during the week of January 16 to January 22, outpacing the likes of the Game of Thrones spinoff House of the Dragon. The Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey-led show aired its fifth episode just ahead of the Super Bowl last week, with the ratings estimated to continue climbing for the remaining four episodes of the season.
These are the first official Nielsen ratings for The Last Of Us, despite the first episode premiering on January 15th, as the episode aired with only a few hours remaining on the week’s Nielsen window. Measurements such as these are often why major music labels and television shows premiere on specific days to allow for the greatest breadth of measurement in the opening week. For albums, this means releasing Fridays at midnight eastern time, whereas television programs often opt to slate their biggest premieres for Monday evening slots.
Despite only clocking in for a few hours, the Nielsen ratings for the first episode estimate over 233 viewing minutes while only accounting for streams accrued on HBO Max. The Last Of Us has since been steadily rising in popularity, spiking even more after Pedro Pascal hosted Saturday Night Live on February 4th and again after shifting the air date of episode 5 to a Friday so as not to conflict with Super Bowl LVII. This is in addition to the preexisting core viewership brought over by fans of the hit video game series of the same name.
These Nielsen streaming results are staggering when compared to other shows on the list, as The Last Of Us outpaced Bluey, Criminal Minds, and NCIS while only showing a single digit number of total episodes, the three aforementioned programs each contain over 100 episodes available to stream. This may mark a shift in the HBO programming landscape, as House of the Dragon was previously considered a guaranteed hit, even after the Game of Thrones finale left many fans feeling like the show had taken a sharp decline in quality. Even with the core fanbase of video game players nearly guaranteed to tune in, many viewers were concerned about The Last Of Us‘s ability to adapt to live action, given that many video game titles have fumbled the transition in the past.
Games such as Assassin’s Creed, World of Warcraft, Tomb Raider, and Mortal Kombat have each gotten the live-action treatment, often resulting in a final product that is easily forgettable at best and outright insulting to the core fanbase of players at worst. With Naughty Dog Co-President Neil Druckmann serving as executive producer for The Last Of Us, working alongside Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin to bring Joel and Ellie to life, it seems that the esteemed source material has been kept in very capable hands.