Game of Thrones: A TV finale for the ages

Winter is here.

Season 8 of Game of Thrones finally begins at 11am AEST today (with a replay at 8:30pm) on FOX Showcase.

This is the first of just 6 episodes to tie up the world’s biggest TV show.

The final season will mark the end of a TV era, with binge-addicted fans drawn to its sprawling fantasy of fire and ice, stunning sequences and massive cliffhangers. Like it or not, the show has also defined TV piracy and spoilers, as millennials flocked to scripted drama in an age of disruption.

When it concludes in May it will be celebrated as a show that us all captivated.

But the TV landscape has also changed meaning GoT ratings will not join the likes of MASH, Cheers, Seinfeld & Friends in the record books. As a cable TV show it can’t possibly manage the same kind of reach.

The top rated episode for Game of Thrones so far is the 2017 finale at 12.07m US viewers. In Australia is was also a record (Live: 561,000 / Replay: 306,000) at a total of 867,000 viewers nationally.

These are the most watched finales on US Television (excludes Sport):

  1. M*A*S*H  105.9
  2. Roots 100.0
  3. Cheers 84.4
  4. The Fugitive 78.0
  5. Seinfeld 76.3
  6. Friends 52.5
  7. Magnum, P.I. 50.7
  8. The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson 50.0
  9. The Cosby Show 44.4
  10. All in the Family 40.2
  11. Family Ties 36.3
  12. Home Improvement 35.5
  13. Frasier 33.7
  14. Dallas 33.3
  15. Everybody Loves Raymond 32.9
  16. Star Trek: The Next Generation 31.0
  17. Gunsmoke 30.9
  18. Happy Days 30.5
  19. The Golden Girls 27.2
  20. Full House 24.3
  21. St. Elsewhere 22.5
  22. MacGyver 22.3
  23. L.A. Law 22.1
  24. ALF 21.7
  25. The Mary Tyler Moore Show 21.16
  26. The Wonder Years 21.0
  27. Quantum Leap 20.6
  28. Who’s the Boss? 20.5
  29. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air 19.9
  30. Mad About You 19.8
  31. Knots Landing 19.6
  32. Bonanza 19.3
  33. Designing Women 18.8
  34. Matlock 18.7
  35. Will & Grace 18.6
  36. The Facts of Life 18.2
  37. Jake and the Fatman 18.1
  38. Major Dad 17.9
  39. Murphy Brown 17.5
  40. Beverly Hills, 90210 16.8
  41. Roseanne 16.6
  42. Murder, She Wrote 16.5
  43. The Oprah Winfrey Show 16.404
  44. ER 16.4
  45. NYPD Blue 16.1
  46. Miami Vice 16.1
  47. Perfect Strangers 15.8
  48. Married… with Children 15.2
  49. In the Heat of the Night 15.0
  50. Kate & Allie 14.9

11am Game of Thrones AEST FOX Showcase (replay)
9:30pm Thrones 360 FOX Showcase


  1. Before digital TV and streaming FTA TV was a captured audience, also publishing ratings are not that relevant as most streaming companies don’t show advertising so viewer numbers don’t need any publicity for marketing purposes. How the advertising industry view this new age of broadcasting is anyone’s guess but GoT by itself does seem to represent a lucrative revenue earner if commercial TV exploited its popularity, but then again commercial TV may well have lost half its audience for GoT long ago, this show is really a classic design for Pay TV.

  2. Was American Idol on cable over there too? I’m surprised Baywatch wasn’t in this list as well…. or maybe The X-Files which had bold series endings?

  3. Never seen a single episode, but my kids (now young adults) are addicted to it. No doubt I’ll hear all about it, and as usual, have no idea what they’re talking about.

  4. By that list, one would think GoT will sneak into the Top 50…which will be a mean feat!
    Is there anything post 2010 on that list? Oprah maybe?

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