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TV Ratings

'Game of Thrones' beats 'The Sopranos' as the biggest show in HBO history

Game of Thrones 660 AP.JPG

Cast member Peter Dinklage arrives at the premiere for the third season of the HBO television series "Game of Thrones" at the TCL Chinese Theatre on Monday, March 18, 2013 in Los Angeles. (AP)

Tony Soprano sleeps with the fishes. At the bottom of Blackwater Bay.

HBO announced Thursday that "Game of Thrones" has overtaken "The Sopranos" as the most popular series in the network's history. The fantasy epic's current fourth season has an average gross audience of 18.4 million viewers, surpassing "The Sopranos'" peak tally of 18.2 million viewers, which the mob drama notched during its fourth season in 2002. By comparison, "Game of Thrones'" third season averaged 14.4 million viewers.

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"Game of Thrones'" rise in popularity has been well documented, with this season's episodes regularly earning series-high ratings, water-cooler chatter turning to commiseration over the deaths of favorite characters, and the launch of a language course based on the fictional Dothraki tongue.