Sunday, July 21, 2024

HBO’s “House of the Dragon” Problem: Ratings Going Down, Not Up as Season 2 Progresses


Stop dragon my heart around.

Season 2 of HBO’s “House of the Dragon” is turning into a bit of a ratings problem. The numbers are going in a downward direction, not upward.

Last Sunday night’s ratings were down again, this time by 10.68% in total viewers and a whopping 27% in the key age demo.

Since the new season premiered four weeks ago, the trend is unabated in decline.

This is pretty shocking since, in its heyday, “Game of Thrones” was up between 10 and 12 million viewers

“House of the Dragon” numbers are much lower than seasons 1 and 2 of “Game of Thrones.” Season 2 of that series was averaging 3.8 million linear viewers.

HBO may say the “Dragon” numbers are higher counting in Max and other platforms. But the basic HBO numbers tell the story: viewers are slowly turning off the show.

Why? I don’t know. The production values are tremendous, and so is the acting. But the story arcs are not as vivid as “Game of Thrones.” It’s’ unclear who to root for. The leading men — especially Daemon (Matt Smith) aren’t heroic. The women — and I really like Emma D’Arcy’s Rhaenyra — just seem stressed all the time.

“House of the Dragon” is already renewed for season 3, so it’s not like these ratings will do it in. But if it keeps spiraling down, look for some changes next time around.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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