Good news for The Last of Us fans. Episode 5 will be hitting HBO Max two days early.
The next episode of the Pedro Pascal-led series will be available on HBO Max beginning February 10 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. Usually, HBO originals debut on HBO Max at the same time the episode begins airing on the east coast.
The episode will also still air on HBO during its regularly scheduled time on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The east coast airing will conflict with the Super Bowl, which is likely the reason that HBO is debuting the episode early.
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The Last of Us has posted impressive audience gains over the first three weeks of its run. The premiere episode brought in a same-day audience of 4.7M, which was the largest debut after House of the Dragon since Boardwalk Empire launched in 2010. Episode 3’s audience was up 37%, with 6.4M people tuning in across HBO Max and linear channels — and that’s with the first half of the episode going up against the AFC Championship on the east coast.
However, the Super Bowl is a different beast. Last year, 99.2M people in the U.S. watched the Rams vs. Bengals matchup, which is more than double the audience for the NFL playoffs.
The series is also capturing an even larger audience in delayed viewing, with the first two episodes averaging over 21M viewers. But by releasing Episode 5 early, HBO doesn’t have to rely on delayed viewing to engage with the show’s core audience.
The Last of Us, which is based on the PlayStation game, takes place 20 years after modern civilization has been destroyed. Joel, a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle Ellie, a 14-year-old girl, out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal journey as they both must traverse the US and depend on each other for survival.
It stars Pascal, Bella Ramsey, Gabriel Luna, Anna Torv, Nico Parker, Murray Bartlett and Nick Offerman as well as Melanie Lynskey, Storm Reid, Merle Dandridge, Jeffrey Pierce, Lamar Johnson, Keivonn Woodard, Graham Greene, Elaine Miles, Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker.
Following next week, new episodes of the series will continue to air Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max, leading up to the season finale on March 12.
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