Two men dressed up as White Walkers at a "Game of Thrones" premiere. Photo: Mohssen Assanimoghaddam/picture alliance via Getty Images

"Game of Thrones" Season 8 premiere Sunday drew a massive 17.4 million viewers, according to HBO, beating out the show's previous record of 16.9 million viewers for the show's final episode of its seventh season.

Why it matters: One of the last remaining shows that kept appointment TV viewing culture alive is nearing its end.

  • Now that HBO is being rolled up into the core of AT&T's streaming strategy, it's unclear how AT&T will roll out its programming schedule.
  • And we still don't know Disney's release strategy, although reports began to pop Monday that "The Mandalorian," a space-drama series being created for Disney+, will be released weekly starting in November

The bottom line: Thrones fans waited nearly two years for the show's season finale. It remains to be seen if HBO, under its new corporate AT&T structure, will be able to create that type of anticipation again for WarnerMedia's streaming service.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus — COVID-19 looms over White House Halloween celebrations
  2. Health: Fauci says maybe we should mandate masks if people don't wear them — America was sick well before it ever got COVID-19
  3. World: Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for COVID-19.

Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus

Marc Short with Katie Miller, Vice President Pence's communications director, in March. Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times via Reuters

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force.

8 hours ago - World

Opposition leader Leopoldo López flees Venezuela

Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo López outside the Spanish embassy in Caracas, in 2019. Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images

Leopoldo López, a former political prisoner and prominent Venezuelan opposition leader, has left the country, his Popular Will party confirmed in a statement Saturday.

Why it matters: He's been highly influential in the push to oust President Nicolás Maduro's regime and a mentor to opposition leader Juan Guaidó. He'd been in the Spanish ambassador's Caracas residence since escaping house arrest in April 2019 following a failed military uprising.