Winter has arrived on “Game of Thrones,” and it brought the show’s biggest-ever audience with it.

A little more than 10.1 million people tuned into the on-air premiere of the show’s seventh season Sunday night. That’s the most ever for the series, beating the 8.89 million for the Season 6 finale last year by a nearly 14-percent margin. It also set a series high in adults 18-49 at 4.7

Replays of the premiere and early returns from streaming put the total audience for “Game of Thrones” Sunday at 16.1 million people, also a single-day record for the series.

The big premiere puts “Game of Thrones” in a good position to continue its remarkable streak of growing its audience every year. Season 6 averaged 7.69 million viewers for initial airings; to beat that this year, the remaining six episodes would need to average only about 7.3 million viewers.

The show historically doesn’t lose much audience episode to episode: Last season, the least-watched installment (episode 6) was only 15.5 percent lower than the premiere. Season 5 was the only one in which any episode prior to the finale fell more than 20 percent from the season premiere’s ratings.

Sunday’s other originals held up reasonably well despite the huge audience for “GoT.” “Power” (0.7, 1.72 million) finished second among adults 18-49, and “The Strain” premiered to a 0.5, off a tenth from last season’s debut but ahead of the Season 3 average. “Claw” (0.5, 1.25 million) tied its best 18-49 rating and had its biggest total audience so far.

T0p 25 original cable shows among adults 18-49 for Sunday, July 16, 2017

Show Net Time Total Viewers (000s) 18-49 rating
GAME OF THRONES HBO 9:03 PM 10,105 4.7
POWER STARZ 9:01 PM 1,720 0.7
MIKE TYSON MYSTERIES ADULT SWIM 11:30 PM 1,250 0.6
MLB SUNDAY NIGHT ESPN 8:00 PM 2,456 0.6
NASCAR M.E. CUP RACING NBCSN 3:25 PM 3,210 0.6
THE STRAIN FX 10:00 PM 1,443 0.5
FOOD NETWORK STAR FOOD 9:00 PM 1,805 0.5
REAL HOUSEWIVES OF POTOMAC BRAVO 9:00 PM 1,384 0.5
CLAWS TNT 9:00 PM 1,253 0.5
SPONGEBOB NICK 7:30 PM 1,993 0.5
SHAHS OF SUNSET BRAVO 8:00 PM 1,199 0.5
ISLAND HUNTERS HGTV 10:00 PM 1,938 0.4
NASCAR CUP SERIES START NBCSN 3:00 PM 2,462 0.4
90 DAY FIANCE: HAPPILY EVER AFTER TLC 8:00 PM 1,232 0.4
KIDS CHOICE SPORTS 2017 NICK 8:00 PM 1,757 0.4
ISLAND HUNTERS HGTV 10:30 PM 1,735 0.4
WIMBLEDON ESPN 9:00 AM 1,393 0.4
LAKEFRONT BARGAIN HUNT HGTV 8:30 PM 1,703 0.4
CARIBBEAN LIFE HGTV 9:00 PM 1,675 0.4
CARIBBEAN LIFE HGTV 9:30 PM 1,713 0.4
KIDS CHOICE SPORTS 2017 NICK 9:00 PM 1,450 0.4
LAKEFRONT BARGAIN HUNT HGTV 8:30 PM 1,784 0.4
AMERICAN MONSTER ID 9:00 PM 1,337 0.4
DUDE PERFECT SHOW NICK AT NITE 9:34 PM 1,424 0.3
NBA SUMMER LEAGUE ESPN2 8:03 PM 763 0.3

Source: The Nielsen Company.

Posted by:Rick Porter

Rick Porter has been covering TV since the days when networks sent screeners on VHS, one of which was a teaser for the first season of "American Idol." He's left-handed, makes a very solid grilled cheese and has been editor of TV by the Numbers since October 2015. He lives in Austin.

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