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'Game of Thrones' season 3 premiere ratings break records

HBO’s Game of Thrones returned Sunday night to its most-watched episode ever.

The third season premiere delivered 4.4 million viewers for its premiere at 9 p.m. and racked up 6.7 million viewers for the evening after its two repeats were tallied. That’s up 13 percent from its first airing last year and represents a record for the show in both measurements.

Despite heavy publicity and a rabid fan base, odds were stacked against Thrones setting a record. TV viewership historically dips on Easter Sunday, and Thrones ran head-to-head for the first time with the heavily anticipated The Walking Dead finale, which has a demographically similar male-skewing audience (and also set a series record last night). Give that Thrones premiered against the wind, I suspect Thrones will beat these numbers a few times this season (and could it surpass True Blood as HBO’s most-watched show?).

How close was my Thrones ratings prediction yesterday? Nearly dead-on: I bet on 4.3 million at 9 p.m. and nailed the 6.7 million for the night.