‘The Last of Us’ Episode 5 Will Land on HBO Max Early, Avoiding Super Bowl Competition Most Popular Must Read Sign Up for Variety Newsletters More From Our Brands

Episode 5 of “The Last of Us” will debut on HBO Max on Friday, February 10 at 9 p.m. ET, two days before the series’ regularly scheduled Sunday night airing on HBO — which is February 12. . Super Bowl.

A large portion of HBO shows’ viewership comes from streaming on HBO Max. In the case of “House of the Dragon,” the most recent comparable HBO series in terms of audience size, about two-thirds of viewers on the first night of each episode chose to stream rather than tune in live. By giving those viewers access to “The Last of Us” Episode 5 before Feb. 12, HBO will avoid losing as much of its Night One audience as it did with the Sunday premiere — because the Super Bowl usually Most viewed. television event of the year, and draws viewers away from many other programs.

HBO is known for scheduling its programming with Sunday drops, though this isn’t the first time the network has changed its schedule to avoid competing with the Super Bowl.

“The Last of Us” has been a huge hit with viewers for HBO. With 4.7 million viewers, its first episode was the network’s second-most-watched series premiere in ten years, second only to “House of the Dragon,” which was the longest-running and unrated series. It had the advantage of being a sequel to the hugely popular “game”. of Thrones.” Episode 2 brought in 5.7 million viewers, a 22% increase that marked HBO’s biggest-ever growth from a premiere to a second episode. And Episode 3’s 6.4 million viewers totaled announced a major breakthrough for HBO, with four current series tracking for the first time at more than 15 million viewers per episode while accounting for delayed viewership: “The Last of Us,” “House of the Dragon, “White Lotus” and “Euphoria.”

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