Sunday’s third-season premiere of “Breaking Bad” on AMC delivered the series’ highest ratings ever, 17% higher than its previous peak.

An estimated 2 million viewers tuned in for the drama starring Bryan Cranston as a high school teacher turned meth manufacturer, a 40% hike over the Sony Pictures Television drama’s average for its second season.

In total, AMC’s three airings of “Breaking Bad’s” season opener on Sunday brought in a total of 3.3 million viewers, according to preliminary estimates from Nielsen.

“Breaking Bad” also showed demo gains, most notably among women 18-49, which doubled from season two’s 250,000 viewers to 482,000.

By comparison, 2.9 million viewers overall watched the first airing of the third-season preem of AMC drama “Mad Men” last summer.

Cranston has won lead drama actor Emmys in 2008 and 2009 for his role in the series that also stars Anna Gunn and Aaron Paul.