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Thanks, Donald and Hillary? 'Westworld' episode out early, possibly due to debate

For those of you who’ve spent the last week lamenting that season 1 of Westworld wasn’t released all at once for you to binge on at your leisure, we have some great news for you. While the aforementioned scenario won’t become a reality any time soon, Entertainment Weekly reports that episode 2 of Westworld (entitled Chestnut) is available to stream right now on HBO Now, HBO Go, and HBO OnDemand.

As fans of the show know, it airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET — so what gives? Well, no one’s quite sure at the moment, but the prevailing theory is that HBO is worried about going up against Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump, Round 2. The first presidential debate posted mammoth numbers, averaging more than 80 million viewers, and if the second clash nets anything close to that, the pool of potential viewers for Westworld will be much smaller. By contrast, Westworld pulled in just 3.3 million for the initial airing of its premiere.

On top of that, this week’s installment of Sunday Night Football  — which always draws a huge audience — features a matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants. New York, of course, represents a major media market, and football fans who aren’t watching the debate will likely be tuned in for the game.

Releasing the episode early makes a ton of sense for HBO. First off, it’s a nice gesture to fans who are champing at the bit to see the follow-up to the much-discussed premiere. Second, it means the show won’t need to rely on an airing that coincides with other major TV events. Third — we want to see what happens next!

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