Succession Season 3 Just Gave HBO Max Its Biggest Premiere Yet

"Succession" has finally returned, bringing with it plenty of backstabbing, lots of foul language, and the biggest premiere audience HBO Max has ever seen.

The politically-charged family drama premiered its third season on Sunday night, drawing 1.4 million viewers across all platforms. According to HBO (via Variety), not only did this mark an all-time high for "Succession" season premieres, but it doubled as the best premiere-night performance of any HBO original series since the launch of HBO Max in 2020. Turns out Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) wasn't the only one having a good night, since HBO was getting big numbers worth celebrating. But while this viewership is big news for HBO Max as a service, they aren't record-breaking for the network overall.

To compare, back before HBO Max fully existed in 2019, "Big Little Lies" premiered its sophomore season to 1.1 million viewers on digital. At the time, those numbers came from the HBO Go and HBO Now streaming services, but the biggest audience came from the networks live viewings. With the network viewership added in, the audience for "Big Little Lies" jumped to 2.5 million. In comparison, the "Succession" premiere draws its success primarily from the digital debut. And much like tension in the Roy family, the numbers will likely ramp up as the season progresses. Throughout its second season, "Succession" episodes averaged nearly 5 million viewers across all platforms — and with the premiere episode up 214% from last, the rest of the season is expected to follow.

It's Time To Catch Up On Succession

With everyone else hopping on the "Succession" bandwagon, it might be time to finally come aboard. The dysfunctional Roy family always aims to please, but that's never been truer than this third season. The series follows the messy, wealthy elites behind a giant media conglomerate, Waystar Royco. The declining health of the family patriarch, Logan Roy (Brian Cox) seems to indicate that the time has come to choose a new CEO, despite his insistence that no one could ever succeed him. And so his children spend the series fighting for their shot at the top job — including his presumed hair, Kendall (Jeremy Strong), who frequently fails to impress; his youngest son, Roman (Kieran Culkin), whose both immature and utterly unqualified; and their sister, Shiv (Sarah Snook), who tends to crack under pressure. And what do they all share, besides their overwhelming wealth? Their tendency to self-destruct.

It's no surprise that season 3 of "Succession" is the biggest yet, given the show's popularity climbed so significantly between the first and second season premiere. "Succession" initially took a few episodes to settle into itself and really bring out the best of its characters, but by season 2, the formula seemed perfected. Each episode whisks the Roy's off to a new, grand location, showcasing their wealth and parodying their ridiculous lives. The season even ended with a bombshell of a finale that made waiting for season 3 especially painful.

With its third season, "Succession" has reached new heights in both its numbers and the intensity of the story. The ruthless patriarch is on the ropes, scrambling to secure alliances and hold his position after suffering a devastating public blow from his rebellious son, Kendall. The Roy's are going full on civil war so yeah, it might be time to hop onboard.

New episodes of "Succession" premiere to HBO and HBO Max weekly on Sunday nights.