HBO’s Game of Thrones Season 4 finale drew 7.1 million viewers on Sunday, beating the 5.4 million who tuned in for the previous season’s last episode.
Once repeats were taken into account, the finale for the fourth season was seen by 9.3 million people.
Total viewing figures, including video on demand and mobile streaming have not yet been released.
Game of Thrones is now HBO’s most popular series, surpassing The Sopranos.
The average audience during series four, including catch-up services, has been 18.6 million per episode. The Sopranos’ audience peaked at 18.2 million in 2002, giving it the HBO record until now.
The show is engaged in a ratings war with zombie thriller The Walking Dead, which attracted 15.7 million viewers for its season finale in April.
However, broadcaster AMC said its audience jumped to 28 million once repeats and on-demand figures were taken into account.
The final Game of Thrones episode, The Children, saw many of the show’s leading characters making key decisions which will impact them in future episodes, while several met a typically grisly end.
Season five has already been confirmed.
Game of Thrones TV series is based on the books, A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin, set in the mythical, medieval land of Westeros.
In the north, a massive wall of ice keeps out barbarian “wildlings” and zombie-like “white walkers”. South of the wall, there is a bitter war between rival claimants for the Iron Throne and rule of the seven kingdoms of Westeros.
Meanwhile, a princess exiled to distant lands with three dragons has rallied an army of freed slaves.
Game of Thrones is full of intense political intrigue, with war and its aftermath depicted in brutal detail. The show first aired in 2011 featuring actors including Peter Dinklage, Charles Dance, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke and Maisie Williams.
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Game of Thrones will have two new series – Seasons 5 and 6 – producers have confirmed.
“Raise a glass of Dornish wine. Game of Thrones is renewed for seasons five and six,” the show posted on its official Facebook page.
The statement added: “Send a raven and spread the word across the realm.”
Game of Thrones Season 4 premiere gave HBO its top ratings since The Sopranos finale in 2007, it was announced earlier this week.
An average of 6.6 million watched HBO for the hit fantasy drama.
The Sopranos drew 11.9 million viewers for its final episode, according to the cable channel.
George RR Martin, the author of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels on which the program is based, is also an executive producer on the show.
He has previously hinted at the possibility of a feature film to round-off the adaptation of his book.
Game of Thrones also holds the record for the most illegally downloaded TV program.
In 2012, one episode of Game of Thrones racked up 4,280,000 illegal global downloads, according to Torrentfreak. That was slightly more than its estimated US TV audience.
Earlier this week the digital service for television channel HBO was forced to apologize to customers, after the site crashed following high demand for the series four premiere.
HBO GO asked fans to wait for a later replay of the episode on the cable channel.
Last month, the service also crashed after demand to watch the finale of True Detective.
Olivia Wilde has joined the cast of Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger’s rock and roll pilot for HBO.
The unnamed drama about the drug and s**-fuelled music business in 1970s New York will start filming in the summer, based on an idea by Mick Jagger.
Bobby Cannavale will play record executive Richie Finestra, who tries to resurrect his label.
Olivia Wilde revealed on Twitter she “could not be more psyched” about landing the role of his wife Devon.
Martin Scorsese will direct the pilot episode which is written by his regular collaborator Terence Winter – whom he worked with on Wolf of Wall Street and Boardwalk Empire – and George Mastras of Breaking Bad.
According to Variety magazine, all three will executive produce the project along with Mick Jagger.
The show will be seen through the eyes of Richie Finestra, the founder and president of American Century Records, who is struggling to find the next new sound as punk and disco begin to take over the music business.
Richie Finestra is then hit with a crisis of character when he is forced to make a life-altering decision, which sends his wife – a former actress and model – back to her old bohemian lifestyle.
The new drama will mark a return to TV for Olivia Wilde, who played Dr. Remy Hadley in House from 2007 to 2012.
Olivia Wilde recently appeared in Spike Jonze film Her and Ron Howard’s Formula One drama Rush.
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Boardwalk Empire is to end after its upcoming fifth season, HBO has announced.
The decision comes three months after HBO renewed the prohibition-era drama for a fifth outing.
“We’ve decided to wrap up the series after such a great run and look forward to bringing it to a powerful and exciting conclusion,” creator Terry Winter said.
Boardwalk Empire has won 17 Emmys since it first aired, including Martin Scorsese winning for his direction of the series’ big budget pilot that premiered in 2010.
“It has been an incredible honor to bring this powerful and groundbreaking series to our subscribers,” HBO programming president Michael Lombardo said.
“Terry Winter has created one for the ages.”
Boardwalk Empire Season 5 will return to TV screens in the autumn.
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Game of Thrones Season 4 will premiere at 9 p.m. on Sunday, April 6, with the two half-hour comedies following after.
The fourth season premiere will be followed by the third season of Veep and the premiere of the new Mike Judge series Silicon Valley.
HBO will also premiere the first trailer for Games of Thrones Season 4 on Sunday, before the premiere of True Detective the new series starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as detectives trying to solve murders in rural Louisiana.
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James Gandolfini’s final TV show Criminal Justice is unlikely to be screened, according to HBO.
James Gandolfini, who died of a heart attack in June aged 51, had filmed the pilot for Criminal Justice.
Programming president Michael Lombardo said he could not imagine the show airing because James Gandolfini would not continue with the drama.
Criminal Justice, an adaptation of the 2008 BBC series, saw James Gandolfini playing a New York lawyer.
Speaking to The Television Critics Association, Michael Lombardo said it was difficult to think of recasting that part and was unclear what the future was for the project.
The Sopranos star James Gandolfini had also finished two films before he died. Crime film Animal Rescue and the romance Enough Said are still awaiting release.
Enough Said, which also stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Catherine Keener, will have its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in September.
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Watching television shows, movies, and Internet videos on your TV has never been easier thanks to Roku 3. This all-access device is starting to make cable, satellite, and even over-the-air stations a bit nervous. Check out the five ways Roku 3 will change your streaming experience.
5. Access to Content
With Roku 3, you’ll have access to a very broad range of channels and content providers. Unlike cable where you buy a channel bundle that may include several channels you never watch, Roku 3 lets you pick which channels you want. Channels include big names such as Netflix, Hulu, Major League Baseball TV, and HBO.
Beyond the well-known brands, have fun sampling other content providers. For example, some popular tourist destinations offer their own channels with fun videos. Think beyond TV show shows and movies. Use your TV to watch comedic material from Funny or Die, or enjoy listening to your favorite radio station, even if it’s in another city, with Tune In. Spend hours diving into the depth of content that’s available to stream through your Roku.
4. On Demand Viewing
Most content available through Roku 3 is on demand. That means you watch it on your schedule, not when it’s broadcast or shown on cable. This changes the way you watch television shows because you no longer have to view episodes in order. While you’ll probably still want to watch “Downton Abbey” episodes in sequential order, choose whichever episode of “How It Works” that piques your interest.
3. Watch, Listen, Play
Before the Roku, there weren’t many devices that allowed you to stream TV or movies, listen to music, and play games all with a single unit. However, Roku makes it possible to do all three using one device and one remote. This means you’ll spend less time switching between your equipment and more time watching or doing the things you love. This is one more reason Roku has developed such a strong following: It brings together many functionalities in a single device.
2. Put Your Content on Screen
When you have friends or family over to your home, enjoy showing off photos of the kids or the fun you had on your last vacation with a photo slide show on your TV. It’s simple to do with the Roku app for your smartphone that puts your photos on the flatscreen.
1. Stream Content Quickly
Make sure you have reliable, fast Internet access, such as the 4G from CLEAR internet plans, so you can completely enjoy the streaming experience of Roku 3. Earlier versions of this technology took a bit of time to load content, or even pull up a different channel, but the latest iteration of Roku is built for speed.
The speed of this device may deal a fatal blow to Redbox, the DVD rental’s last ditch effort to make a comeback. With many new releases available to rent from Vudu for viewing via Roku streaming, you may have just watched your last rented DVD.
As Roku keeps introducing better, faster devices, all other traditional distributors of content such as cable,satellite, and DVD rental companies should pay attention, and probably start to worry.
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The TV premiere of Behind the Candelabra, starring Michael Douglas as flamboyant pianist Liberace and Matt Damon as Scott Thorson, was seen by 2.4 million people in the US.
The Nielsen Company said it was the HBO network’s biggest audience for one of its original movies since medical drama Something the Lord Made in 2004.
A further 1.1 million people tuned in for a repeat of the film that aired immediately after Sunday’s premiere.
Behind the Candelabra, Steven Soderbergh’s film, will be released in UK cinemas on June 7.
Based on Scott Thorson’s memoir Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace, the film charts the life of the American pianist and the secret affair he had with the author, played by Matt Damon.
The drama received its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this month.
ABC’s Dancing With the Stars remains the most-watched programme on US television with around 15 million viewers last week.
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Beyonce appears to have found joy again after the painful miscarriage she suffered two years ago with daughter Blue Ivy in a leaked image from HBO documentary Life Is But A Dream, which is set to air on Saturday night.
Beyonce is shown gazing lovingly at the one-year-old baby girl, who turned one-year-old on January 7.
In the image from the film, Beyonce, 31, looks bare-faced and glowing, her signature blonde mane styled in tight braids.
Beyonce can be seen looking tenderly at her little tyke, who looks adorable with her brown curls and doe-eyed expression.
Life Is But A Dream, which Beyonce co-directed, is part of a return to performing after a year off since Blue Ivy was born.
The documentary offers an insider’s look at Beyonce’s career and family life. Part of the film shows footage of a sonogram, Beyonce’s growing bump and grainy video of the singer posing nude as she neared her due date.
Beyonce also opens up about the miscarriage kept secret from the public until Jay-Z referred to it in his song Glory, released after their daughter’s birth.
TV network HBO is being sued by Barbara Casey who claims she was unfairly dismissed from horseracing drama Luck.
Luck, which starred Dustin Hoffman, was axed after several animals died.
Barbara Casey, ex-director of the American Humane Association (AHA) film and production unit, says producers “engaged in ongoing, systematic and unlawful animal abuse”.
An HBO statement said precautions were taken “to ensure that our horses were treated humanely”.
Barbara Casey’s lawsuit also accuses the American Humane Association (AHA) of bending to pressure from the TV network “to allow the use of unsuitable horses”.
She said her employment was wrongfully terminated after she threatened to report animal mistreatment.
HBO added in its statement to The Hollywood Reporter: “Barbara Casey was not an employee of HBO, and any questions regarding her employment should be directed to the AHA.”
The drama, in which Dustin Hoffman starred as a crime kingpin scheming to gain control of a racecourse, was cancelled last March during filming on its second season.
Several horses were injured and put down, and a statement at the time said it was “with heartbreak that HBO have decided to cease all future production”. It was shown in the UK on Sky Atlantic.
However, Barbara Casey claims the network engaged in efforts to “conceal and cover-up” animal safety violations while filming.
She said HBO “misidentified horses so that the humane officers and/or animal safety representatives could not track their medical histories, experience and/or suitability for use”.
Barbara Casey, who held her position with the AHA for 13 years, claimed officers witnessed horses being “drugged to perform” and “underweight and sick horses unsuited for work [being] routinely used”.
AHA said in a statement to movie website Deadline that it “is unable to comment on this pending legal matter”.
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Republicans are calling for a boycott of HBO’s fantasy series Game of Thrones after the creator’s “despicable” decision to include former US President George W. Bush’s severed head in several scenes.
In the tenth episode of the first season, George Bush’s decapitated head is seen impaled on a wooden spike, covered in filthy long hair and slathered in dirt.
HBO and the show’s creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, have apologized for the incident.
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who noted the appearance in the series’ DVD commentary, insist it wasn’t a political statement – just a prop they got from a production company.
But the image has provoked outrage from at least one Republican politician and a backlash on Twitter.
HBO called the scene “unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste”.
“We made this clear to the executive producers of the series who apologized immediately for this inadvertent careless mistake. We are sorry this happened and will have it removed from any future DVD production,” HBO said in a statement.
The creators said the regret pointing out that one of their prosthetic heads looked like the former president. They said the rent prosthetic body parts in bulk and no on even noticed the head looked like George W. Bush’s until after they were done shooting the scene.
The finale of the first season of Game of Thrones, Fire and Blood, one of the series’ beloved characters Ned Stark is beheaded by new King Jeoffrey for treason.
In one brutal scene, King Jeoffrey brings his bride-to-be to gaze upon the severed head of her father.
Sansa Stark refuses at first, but then looks up to see not only her father, but also George W. Bush.
The surprise sighting went largely noticed until a user on Reddit pointed out the presidential prop.
When the show’s creators revisit the scene in the DVD commentary, they make sure viewers notice the former Head of State.
“People may not have noticed this but back up…the last head on the left is George Bush,” one says.
“George Bush’s head appears in a couple of beheading scenes,” the other adds.
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss say it was no condemnation of George W. Bush and his policies.
“It’s not a choice. It’s not a political statement,” one says.
“It’s just.. we had to use what heads we had lying around.”
Craig Eaton, chairman of the Brooklyn Republican Party, was disgusted by the former president’s “appearance” on the show.
“I think that it’s despicable. As a country, Democrats, Republicans, we have to have respect for the office and the individuals,” he said.
“Once we lose that respect, the United States looks weak.”
He continued: “Think about what people outside the country think when they see how Americans are disparaging their own former presidents.”
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HBO has decided to cancel TV horse-racing drama Luck, which stars Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, after a third animal was injured and put down during production.
The series was filming its second season when the incident happened.
In a statement, HBO said it was “with heartbreak” that it was ceasing “all future production” on Luck.
Produced by Michael Mann and David Milch, the series looks at the seedy side of life in US horse-racing.
It sees Dustin Hoffman play a crime kingpin scheming to gain control of a racetrack and introduce casino gambling.
Luck debuted in the US in January and will see its first season finale broadcast on 25 March.
It is currently being shown in the UK on the Sky Atlantic channel.
The decision to cancel the entire series came one day after filming was suspended pending an investigation into the horse’s death.
“It is with heartbreak that executive producers David Milch and Michael Mann together with HBO have decided to cease all future production on the series <<Luck>>,” HBO said in its statement.
“While we maintained the highest safety standards possible, accidents unfortunately happen and it is impossible to guarantee they won’t in the future. Accordingly, we have reached this difficult decision.”
On Tuesday the American Humane Association (AHA) issued the suspension order, pending a “thorough and comprehensive investigation”.
HBO said the horse was being led to a stable by a groom when it reared and fell back, suffering a head injury.
The animal was put down at the track in suburban Arcadia, California, where Luck was filming.
Although the AHA – which oversees Hollywood productions – noted the accident did not occur during filming or racing, it issued the demand “that all production involving horses shut down”.
On Tuesday, California Horse Racing Board vet Dr. Gary Beck said he had just examined the horse as part of routine health and safety procedures before it was to race later in the day.
“The horse was on her way back to the stall when she reared, flipped over backwards, and struck her head on the ground,” Dr. Gary Beck said in a statement.
A second vet determined that euthanasia was appropriate, he added.
Dr. Rick Arthur, medical director of the state racing board, said such injuries occurred in stable areas every year and were more common than thought.
During filming of the first series in 2010 and 2011, two horses were hurt during racing scenes and were subsequently put down.
The AHA called for a production halt at the Santa Anita Racetrack after the second horse’s death, and racing resumed in February after new protocols were put in place.
The first two horse deaths drew criticism from animal rights group PETA, which said the safety guidelines were “clearly inadequate” as they failed to prevent the deaths.
On Tuesday, PETA vice-president Kathy Guillermo said: “Three horses have now died and all the evidence we have gathered points to sloppy oversight, the use of unfit, injured horses, and disregard for the treatment of thoroughbreds.”