'Game of Thrones' finale ratings up from last year (but don't break record)

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HBO’s Game of Thrones fourth season finale posted significant gains from last year’s closer — yet couldn’t top its own all-time high set earlier this season.

Sunday’s “The Children” episode had 7.1 million viewers was up 32 percent from season three’s finale. That’s just shy of the show’s 7.2 million record, which was repeatedly struck this season. HBO wasn’t expecting a new breakthrough given the high-flying NBA playoff Game 5 airing on broadcast last night. Counting two additional plays, Thrones struck 9.3 million viewers total for the night. Thrones also recorded the largest audience ever for an HBO series this season with an average of 18.6 million viewers across all platforms and repeats, up 29 percent from last season.

Some other HBO data points from the year: Freshman comedy Silicon Valley averaged 5.7 million viewers; Veep 4.6 million (its highest season). New talk show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has averaged 4 million. Memorial Day weekend movie The Normal Heart has grown 355 percent across all platforms to 4.3 million viewers since its debut.

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