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HBO’s Game of Thrones returned for a second season Sunday as the most-watched scripted show on cable television last week, attracting a series-high 3.9 million viewers in its first airing. That’s a 74 percent jump from the 2.2 million that tuned in last year for the series debut.
The New York Times notes that while HBO is available in only about one-third of the homes in the country, Game of Thrones out-performed the second episode of AMC’s Mad Men, which averaged about 2.9 million viewers Sunday at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The fantasy drama also tromped the two-hour second-season premiere of AMC’s The Killing, which drew just 1.8 million viewers.
Adding together all three Sunday airings, Game of Thrones totaled 6.3 million viewers, erasing any lingering doubts — were there any? — that HBO will renew the series for a third season.