HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’ gets a second season following successful debut

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HBO announced today that the hit series “The Last of Us” is getting a second season, likely satisfying more than 22 million domestic viewers that watched the Season 1 premiere episode so far. On the night of the premiere, it was viewed by 4.7 million Americans.

The announcement comes less than a week after “The Last of Us” debuted its second-ever episode, which had 5.7 million viewers across HBO Max and linear, according to Nielsen and first-party data. The third episode will premiere this Sunday, January 29, on HBO and HBO Max.

Neil Druckmann, the creator of “The Last of Us” video game and executive producer of the HBO show, said in a statement, “I’m humbled, honored, and frankly overwhelmed that so many people have tuned in and connected with our retelling of Joel and Ellie’s journey…Now we have the absolute pleasure of being able to do it again with season two! On behalf of everyone at Naughty Dog & PlayStation, thank you!”

Unlike other failed video game adaptations, like Netflix’s “Resident Evil,” which got canceled after one season, HBO’s newest series holds true to the original franchise and is a relief for many gamers.

Overall, the series has a 9.3 rating on IMDB, a 97% score on Rotten Tomatoes and an average audience score of 96%. For comparison, Netflix’s popular video game adaptation of “Arcane” has a 9 rating on IMDB.

“I’m so grateful to Neil Druckmann and HBO for our partnership, and I’m even more grateful to the millions of people who have joined us on this journey,” added executive producer Craig Mazin. “The audience has given us the chance to continue, and as a fan of the characters and world Neil and Naughty Dog created, I couldn’t be more ready to dive back in.”

The Last of Us” is a much-needed show for the streamer, especially since parent company Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) missed Wall Street expectations in the third quarter and reported a gross debt load of around $50.4 billion. HBO Max recently hiked up its subscription price to increase revenue.

“The Last of Us” will likely draw in new subscribers who want to see what the hype is all about. The show had the second-largest debut since HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” premiered more than 10 years ago. “House of the Dragon” continues to be the largest premiere in HBO history with nearly 10 million viewers. However, WBD needs to have more than just a few hit series to reduce churn.

As WBD prepares to launch its merged streaming service, the company needs to have a strong content slate if it wants to grow its subscriber base.

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