The fifth episode of the HBO show begins on Friday, February 10.
The Chiefs and Eagles don’t have to worry about HBO stealing the spotlight. “The Last of Us” episode five will premiere on HBO Max early on Friday, Feb. 10 at 9 p.m., two days before its premiere.
Although the episode will still premiere on Sunday, February 12 at 9pm on HBO’s linear channel, the early streaming premiere is almost certainly intended to avoid a situation where the episode’s viewership is cannibalized by Super Bowl viewing. The annual sporting event is typically one of the highest-rated telecasts each year, with 112.3 million viewers last year on NBC and streaming. This year’s game – featuring the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs and Rihanna performing the iconic halftime show – will be broadcast on Fox and is scheduled to begin at 6:30pm ET on Sunday.
“The Last of Us” has been an instant ratings hit since it premiered on HBO last month; its first episode attracted 4.7 million viewers on its first day of release and has since grown to 22 million in the United States. Viewership for subsequent episodes of the video game adaptation continued to increase, with Episode 2 reaching 5.7 million and Episode 3 reaching 6.4 million.
In addition to the Super Bowl, “The Last of Us” will air alongside a couple of other major broadcast events. Sunday’s episode aired alongside the Trevor Noah-hosted Grammy Awards, which aired on CBS and Paramount+. The series’ Season 1 finale will premiere on March 12th at the same time as the 95th Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and airing on ABC. According to HBO, the series will return to HBO’s premiere episodes at the same time as linear airing following the fifth episode, so the network presumably isn’t worried about competing with the Oscars for ratings glory.
Based on the 2013 video game developed by Naughty Dog for the PlayStation 3, The Last of Us stars former Game of Thrones cast members Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey as Joel and Ellie, the main characters from the original video game. It takes place in the post-apocalyptic United States, where the world has been destroyed by a fungal infection. The story follows Joel, a smuggler working in Boston, who is given the protection of 14-year-old Ellie on a cross-country trip. The show, co-hosted by Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin, has already been renewed for a 2nd season.
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