With 'Chernobyl' and 'Euphoria,' HBO is showing it still has firepower after 'Game of Thrones'

Courtesy of HBO‘Euphoria.’
  • In the month since “Game of Thrones” ended, HBO has found success with series like “Chernobyl,” “Euphoria,” and its returning hit “Big Little Lies.”
  • “Chernobyl,” a mini-series, and the freshman drama “Euphoria” have done especially well on streaming platforms.
  • Their viewership numbers suggest that audiences aren’t abandoning HBO in the aftermath of its biggest TV hit.
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During the final season of “Game of Thrones” last month, HBO aired a sizzle reel to show it had plenty up its sleeve to follow up its departing blockbuster drama.

The post-“Game of Thrones” HBO is now starting to come into view.

The WarnerMedia-owned network scored with its mini-series “Chernobyl,” and posted solid debuts for its returning hit, “Big Little Lies,” and its freshman series, “Euphoria.” And it has a promising schedule of new and returning series on the way.

The strong showings of newcomers “Chernobyl” and “Euphoria” come after a widely-cited survey suggested that some people might cancel their HBO Now subscriptions after “Game of Thrones” ended. It sparked speculation about whether the network would flounder without the franchise.

Read more: Why the end of ‘Game of Thrones’ doesn’t spell doom for HBO, despite some subscribers saying they will cancel

So far, HBO seems to be succeeding in putting out more of the quality content its audience expects from it.

“Chernobyl,” which premiered in May, became a sleeper hit on Monday nights after “Game of Thrones” concluded. It garnered more than 8 million cumulative views – across all platforms, including TV and streaming – as of mid-June, and nearly matched the third season of “True Detective” this year.

The mini-series about the 1986 nuclear disaster, which critics loved, also had a larger share of digital viewership than “Game of Thrones.” Fifty-two per cent of the audience for “Chernobyl” came from HBO’s streaming services, including HBO Go and HBO Now, compared to 50% for the final season of “Game of Thrones.” That suggests the show may have benefited from positive word of mouth after its original broadcast.

Read more: ‘Chernobyl’ has become a big hit for HBO, and shows audiences are sticking around after the end of ‘Game of Thrones’

“Big Little Lies,” now in its second season, has topped itself. It opened with 2.5 million viewers on Jun. 9, a 34% lift from its season-one premiere night, Deadline reported. The second episode of the season drew 2 million viewers on Sunday night.

“Euphoria,” a teen drama that sparked controversy ahead of its premiere thanks to reports of extensive nudity and drug use, followed “Big Little Lies” with a modest but solid showing. It opened on Jun. 16 with 1 million viewers for the night. It also pulled in the largest premiere audience for a scripted regular series on HBO Now since “Westworld,” according to Deadline, which noted that HBO does not break out streaming numbers.

None of these series alone match the colossal audience of “Game of Thrones,” which averaged 44 million cumulative viewers per episode across all of HBO’s platforms in its final season.

But, together, their early success shows that HBO is continuing to serve its audience in the aftermath of its biggest hit.

There’s more to come. Later this year, HBO will debut new series including “Watchmen,” “His Dark Materials,” “The Righteous Gemstones,” and “Years and Years,” as well as new seasons of “Succession” and “Silicon Valley.” The third season of “Westworld” is expected in 2020.

Read more: 7 upcoming HBO TV shows viewers can look forward to now that ‘Game of Thrones’ is over

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