HBO’s Game of Thrones kicked off Season 3 on Sunday night with a record audience of 4.4 million total viewers, rising 13 percent from the epic drama’s sophomore opener and up 4 percent from the previous finale.
Folding in two encores broadcasts, the premiere amassed 6.7 million viewers, up 7 percent versus Season 2′s opening night cume.
Over on AMC, The Walking Dead‘s Season 3 finale drew a record-setting 12.4 million viewers — 8.1 million of which fell in the 18-49 demo. The show’s previous high was 12.3 million viewers for February’s midseason opener.
On History, The Bible‘s two-hour finale played to 11.7 million total viewers, with 3.8 mil in the 18-49 demo — up 14 and 12 percent week-to-week. The Bible also squeaked past The Walking Dead in head-to-head competition at 9pm, 12.33 mil vs. 12.29 mil.
Broadcast fare, meanwhile, suffered this Sunday night. Facing off against Thrones, TWD and The Bible, ABC’s Revenge fell 14 and 17 percent to 5.4 mil/1.5, barely edging out a repeat of The Voice. Red Widow (4.1 mil/1.0) in turn slipped 9 percent and a tenth to series lows, placing third behind CBS* and Celebrity Apprentice (down 12 percent to 4.6 mil/1.4).
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* Ratings for CBS’ The Amazing Race and The Good Wife are thoroughly scrambled and unreportable due to significant overrun from the NCAA tournament, which was up 25 percent year-to-year in the overnights.