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: ‘House of the Dragon’ premiere sets HBO record with nearly 10 million viewers

“House of the Dragon,” the big-budget “Game of Thrones” prequel series, is off to a high-flying start, setting an HBO viewership record Sunday night in its premiere.

Warner Bros. Discovery announced Monday that 9.986 million viewers watched the first episode on either HBO or HBO Max, the largest audience for any new, original series in HBO’s history. That came despite technical glitches that caused the HBO Max app to crash for some viewers, which HBO blamed on Amazon streaming devices.

“It was wonderful to see millions of ‘Game of Thrones’ fans return with us to Westeros last night,” Casey Bloys, HBO’s chief content officer, said in a statement. “We’re ecstatic with viewers’ positive response.”

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The network is also likely very relieved by the blockbuster viewership. HBO rolled out its largest-ever marketing campaign before the show’s debut, costing about $100 million. The fantasy series itself cost an estimated $200 million to make, and HBO is banking on multiple seasons, with plans for at least seven other Westeros spinoff shows in the coming years.

Warner Bros. Discovery shares

slid Monday, and are down 46% year to date, compared to the S&P 500’s

13% decline this year.

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