Game of Thrones‘ Sunday season premiere brought in a series record 4.4 million viewers, up 4 percent from the previous high despite particularly stiff cable competition from AMC’s The Walking Dead. The series also pulled 6.7 million viewers across three plays during the course of the night, up from the 2012 debut by 7 percent.
Following more record-breaking ratings, the HBO series will return in 2014 for another 10-episode season.
Two days after an especially strong premiere, HBO has announced a fourth-season pickup for Game of Thrones.
The renewal, considered a given with the series’ increasingly high profile and ratings growth, will include 10 episodes most likely to premiere in early 2014.