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Friday, April 12, 2019

Game of Thrones Finale Set for Record Ratings

Written by Jon Williams

This Sunday begins the long-awaited and highly anticipated eighth season of the hit HBO show Game of Thrones. The abbreviated final season will consist of just six episodes (although four of those will run around 80 minutes, 20 more than the typical episode) and will culminate in the series finale on May 19. Over the course of the show’s seven seasons to date, its ratings have continued to climb, making it one of the most-watched cable series. With nearly two years of hype building up since the Season 7 finale that aired on August 27, 2017, plus the anticipation of who—if anyone—will survive to take the Iron Throne, the eighth season’s viewership numbers are sure to set new records, and the series finale will likely go down as one of the most watched of all time.

On network television, of course, those numbers are untouchable. The series finale of M*A*S*H on February 28, 1983, drew upwards of 105 million viewers, making it the most-watched television episode ever. The only other broadcasts that garner that type of viewership are the Super Bowl each year. The closest any show has come since was ten years later, with the series finale of the hit sitcom Cheers, which came in at 84 million on May 20, 1993. Before M*A*S*H, the record was held by the wrap-up of The Fugitive on August 29, 1967, watched by 78 million people. Rounding out the top five most-watched series finales are two more sitcoms: Seinfeld (May 14, 1998) with 76 million and Friends (May 16, 2004) with 52 million. In the realm of science fiction and fantasy, the record is held by Star Trek: The Next Generation, which came to an end on May 23, 1994, with an audience of 31 million.

Network broadcasts, though, have always had the advantage of being available to anyone with a television set, without the necessity of additional equipment or subscription fees. That’s why ratings for shows airing on cable networks are measured in a category of their own. For cable series, the top two most-watched series finales belong to HBO, the same network that airs Game of Thrones. First up is the mob drama The Sopranos, whose controversial blackout ending aired June 10, 2007, to 11.9 viewers. Coming in second, and holding the top spot until The Sopranos came along, is Sex and the City, which bowed to an audience of 10.6 million on February 22, 2004. Those numbers are especially impressive considering HBO is a premium network which has traditionally required an additional subscription fee on top of a cable package. Then in third place is the acclaimed AMC drama Breaking Bad, which, like Game of Thrones, started off to relatively modest ratings and then steadily built over time. That show finished up on September 29, 2013, with 10.3 million viewers.

So how will the Game of Thrones finale fare? Obviously it won’t approach the numbers of network shows like M*A*S*H or even Friends, but it has an excellent chance of setting a new record for cable shows. Season 7 averaged upwards of 10 million viewers, and the season finale drew over 12 million. With anticipation at an all-time high, the numbers for Season 8 should leave those behind easily. And with two more novels to come in George R.R. Martin’s novel series and a spinoff series in production from HBO, the fever is sure to last for years to come.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Hot This Week: April 8

The DC Comics superhero Aquaman comes to life in the blockbuster that tops this week's movie listing. In music, the glam metal stylings of Motley Crue come to the chart via the soundtrack to their hit streaming biopic. In fiction, Delia Owens stands strong at #1 for yet another week, followed by the latest collaborative effort from mega-bestseller James Patterson.

Movies 
  1. Aquaman (Blu-ray | 4K)
  2. Second Act (Blu-ray)
  3. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Blu-ray | 4K)
  4. Mary Poppins Returns (Blu-ray | 4K)
  5. Instant Family (Blu-ray)
  6. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Blu-ray | 4K)
  7. Green Book (Blu-ray | 4K)
  8. Ralph Breaks the Internet (Blu-ray | 4K)
  9. Creed II (Blu-ray | 4K)
  10. Mortal Engines (Blu-ray | 4K)
CD
  1. Ariana Grande, Thank U, Next
  2. Juice WRLD, Death Race for Love
  3. XXXTENTACION, ?
  4. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born Soundtrack
  5. Post Malone, Beerbongs & Bentleys
  6. Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody Soundtrack
  7. Motley Crue, The Dirt Soundtrack
  8. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Soundtrack
  9. Drake, Scorpion
  10. Meek Mill, Championships
Fiction
  1. Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
  2. The Cornwalls Are Gone, James Patterson and Brendan DuBois
  3. Run Away, Harlan Coben
  4. Celtic Empire, Clive and Dirk Cussler
  5. The American Agent, Jacqueline Winspear
  6. The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides
  7. Wild Card, Stuart Woods
  8. Cemetery Road, Greg Iles
  9. Wolf Pack, C.J. Box
  10. Daisy Jones & the Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid
Non-Fiction
  1. Becoming, Michelle Obama
  2. Educated, Tara Westover
  3. The Right Side of History, Ben Shapiro
  4. Doing Justice, Preet Bharara
  5. Shortest Way Home, Pete Buttigieg
  6. Grateful American, Gary Sinise and Marcus Brotherton
  7. The Case for Trump, Victor Davis Hanson
  8. Spearhead, Adam Makos
  9. Kushner, Inc., Vicky Ward
  10. The Threat, Andrew G. McCabe

Monday, April 1, 2019

Hot This Week: April 1

April starts off in style with the Academy Award winner for Best Animated Feature atop our Hot This Week movie listing, where it's joined by two other new family-friendly offerings, while the music chart remains largely the same from last week. In fiction, new novels from Harlan Coben and Clive and Dirk Cussler jump onto the list, while non-fiction gains four new political explorations.

Movies 
  1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Blu-ray | 4K)
  2. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Blu-ray | 4K)
  3. Instant Family (Blu-ray)
  4. Green Book (Blu-ray | 4K)
  5. Mary Poppins Returns (Blu-ray | 4K)
  6. Mortal Engines (Blu-ray | 4K)
  7. Creed II (Blu-ray | 4K)
  8. Ralph Breaks the Internet (Blu-ray | 4K)
  9. A Star Is Born (Blu-ray | 4K)
  10. Bohemian Rhapsody (Blu-ray | 4K)
CD
  1. Juice WRLD, Death Race for Love
  2. Ariana Grande, Thank U, Next
  3. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born Soundtrack
  4. Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody Soundtrack
  5. Post Malone, Beerbongs & Bentleys
  6. Drake, Scorpion
  7. Travis Scott, Astroworld
  8. Meek Mill, Championships
  9. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Soundtrack
  10. Luke Combs, This One's for You
Fiction
  1. Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
  2. Run Away, Harlan Coben
  3. Celtic Empire, Clive and Dirk Cussler
  4. Wolf Pack, C.J. Box
  5. Cemetery Road, Greg Iles
  6. Daisy Jones & the Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid
  7. The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides
  8. The Island of Sea Women, Lisa See
  9. Silent Night, Danielle Steel
  10. The Chef, James Patterson and Max DiLallo
Non-Fiction
  1. The Right Side of History, Ben Shapiro
  2. Becoming, Michelle Obama
  3. Educated, Tara Westover
  4. Doing Justice, Preet Bharara
  5. Kushner, Inc., Vicky Ward
  6. Shortest Way Home, Pete Buttigieg
  7. The Case for Trump, Victor Davis Hanson
  8. The Threat, Andrew G. McCabe
  9. Spearhead, Adam Makos
  10. Grateful American, Gary Sinise and Marcus Brotherton

Monday, March 25, 2019

Hot This Week: March 25

Three new movies this week are led by the second installment of the Fantastic Beasts series that explores the past of the Harry Potter universe. Rapper Juice WRLD takes over the music chart, joined by the new disc by Grammy Award-winning country star Maren Morris. In audiobooks, a new thriller from C.J. Box comes in at #2 for fiction, and a memoir from Olivia Newton-John joins the ranks in non-fiction.

Movies 
  1. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Blu-ray | 4K)
  2. Green Book (Blu-ray | 4K)
  3. Instant Family (Blu-ray)
  4. Mortal Engines (Blu-ray | 4K)
  5. A Star Is Born (Blu-ray | 4K)
  6. Creed II (Blu-ray | 4K)
  7. Venom (Blu-ray | 4K)
  8. Bohemian Rhapsody (Blu-ray | 4K)
  9. Nobody's Fool (Blu-ray)
  10. Robin Hood (Blu-ray | 4K)
CD
  1. Juice WRLD, Death Race for Love
  2. Ariana Grande, Thank U, Next
  3. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born Soundtrack
  4. Maren Morris, Girl
  5. Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody Soundtrack
  6. Post Malone, Beerbongs & Bentleys
  7. Drake, Scorpion
  8. Travis Scott, Astroworld
  9. Meek Mill, Championships
  10. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Soundtrack
Fiction
  1. Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
  2. Wolf Pack, C.J. Box
  3. Cemetery Road, Greg Iles
  4. Daisy Jones & the Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid
  5. The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides
  6. Silent Night, Danielle Steel
  7. The Chef, James Patterson and Max DiLallo
  8. The Last Romantics, Tara Conklin
  9. The Island of Sea Women, Lisa See
  10. The Border, Don Winslow
Non-Fiction
  1. Becoming, Michelle Obama
  2. Educated, Tara Westover
  3. The Threat, Andrew G. McCabe
  4. The Case for Trump, Victor Davis Hanson
  5. Spearhead, Adam Makos
  6. Grateful American, Gary Sinise and Marcus Brotherton
  7. Mostly Sunny, Janice Dean
  8. Don't Stop Believin', Olivia Newton-John
  9. The Source of Self-Regard, Toni Morrison
  10. The First Conspiracy, Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch

Monday, March 18, 2019

Hot This Week: March 18

It's our last Hot This Week of the winter, and the media titles are warming up along with the weather. There are four new movies on the list, led by the Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne family comedy Instant Family. The music chart is bookended with new discs: the highly anticipated sophomore album from Hozier and a career-spanning hits collection from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. In fiction, five new novels are led by the latest suspense novel from Greg Iles, while three newcomers in non-fiction include a political exploration by Victor Davis Hanson.

Movies 
  1. Instant Family (Blu-ray)
  2. Creed II (Blu-ray | 4K)
  3. A Star Is Born (Blu-ray | 4K)
  4. Bohemian Rhapsody (Blu-ray | 4K)
  5. Venom (Blu-ray | 4K)
  6. The Favourite (Blu-ray)
  7. Robin Hood (Blu-ray | 4K)
  8. Ben Is Back (Blu-ray)
  9. Nobody's Fool (Blu-ray)
  10. The Possession of Hannah Grace (Blu-ray)
CD
  1. Hozier, Wasteland, Baby!
  2. Ariana Grande, Thank U, Next
  3. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born Soundtrack
  4. Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody Soundtrack
  5. Post Malone, Beerbongs & Bentleys
  6. Drake, Scorpion
  7. Travis Scott, Astroworld
  8. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Soundtrack
  9. Meek Mill, Championships
  10. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, The Best of Everything
Fiction
  1. Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
  2. Cemetery Road, Greg Iles
  3. Daisy Jones & the Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid
  4. Silent Night, Danielle Steel
  5. The Chef, James Patterson and Max DiLallo
  6. The Last Romantics, Tara Conklin
  7. The Malta Exchange, Steve Berry
  8. The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides
  9. The Island of Sea Women, Lisa See
  10. The Border, Don Winslow
Non-Fiction
  1. Becoming, Michelle Obama
  2. The Case for Trump, Victor Davis Hanson
  3. Educated, Tara Westover
  4. The Threat, Andrew G. McCabe
  5. Spearhead, Adam Makos
  6. Grateful American, Gary Sinise and Marcus Brotherton
  7. The Universal Christ, Richard Rohr
  8. Mostly Sunny, Janice Dead
  9. The First Conspiracy, Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch
  10. The Source of Self-Regard, Toni Morrison