×

AMC’s ‘Breaking Bad’ Returns to Record 5.9 Million Viewers

It's double the audience of last year's premiere; net's drama 'Low Winter Sun' bows to 2.5 million

Perhaps no series has benefited from so-called off-season “binge viewing” more than AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” which hit a series ratings high in its return Sunday.

The much-anticipated final-season premiere of “Breaking Bad” averaged 5.9 million viewers on Sunday, according to Nielsen — about double the 2.93 million it drew for its regular-timeslot premiere of a year ago.

The show, which has always been a critical darling, bowed in January 2008 with a modest 1.41 million viewers but built with each season, coming in just shy of 2 million with its premiere in March 2010, and then 2.58 million for its fourth-season opener in July 2011.

With its short seasons and addictive storylines, the award-winning drama has benefited from strong word-of-mouth and catch-up viewing via streaming video to pick up hordes of new viewers.

The series trended on Twitter for much of last week — though that isn’t always a trusted ratings indicator — and lead Bryan Cranston could be seen talking up the show on latenight with Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert.

In adults 18-49, Sunday’s “Breaking Bad” did a 2.8 rating (about 3.6 million viewers in that age group), beating its broadcast competition during the 9 o’clock hour. This was also a series high, besting the show’s previous high (1.5), set with its premiere last summer.

The first of the final eight episodes of “Breaking Bad” led into the series premiere of Detroit-set drama “Low Winter Sun,” which drew a solid 2.5 million viewers in the 10 o’clock hour.

And capping the night at 11 p.m. for AMC was the premiere of “Talking Bad,” a 30-minute talkshow devoted to the night’s episode of “Breaking Bad.” It averaged about 1.2 million viewers

The network had previously seen good numbers for “Talking Dead,” which discusses its “The Walking Dead.” And Discovery scored over the past week with “Shark After Dark,” related to the net’s popular Shark Week programming.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Elite Season 2

    San Sebastian: Spain’s SVOD Players Debate Competition, Brand, Talent

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Executives from HBO, Netflix, Amazon and Movistar+ and “Elite” co-creator Darío Madrona took to the stage to field questions on the Global Impact of Spanish Series. Here, briefly, are five takeaways: 1.Spain First “La Casa de Papel” was watched by 34,355,956 Netflix accounts over its first seven days,  after a July 19 [...]

  • Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers

    Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers From Skipping Fox Ad Breaks

    Fox is hoping to knit together the seconds-long divide between a TV program and the commercials that support it. During ad breaks for a few football broadcasts, tomorrow’s run of the Emmys and Wednesday’s season premiere of “The Masked Singer,” the network will kick off ad sessions with special show promos that display artistic renderings [...]

  • Patria

    HBO Europe Unveils ‘Patria’ Footage to Captive San Sebastian Audience

    SAN SEBASTIAN — Amid large expectation, HBO Europe has revealed first footage giving a first sense of tone and pace of its Spanish original series “Patria.” A packed-to-overflowing press conference on Saturday morning at the San Sebastian Festival can be read as one sign of the potential popularity of the eight-part series. The panel sneak-peek [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • Peter Weber and Mike Johnson

    'The Bachelor's' Mike Johnson on Diversity and New Leading Man Peter Weber

    ABC named its newest star of “The Bachelor” this week, officially making Peter Weber the leading man for Season 24 of the long-running dating show. Social media backlash ensued following the announcement due to ABC’s selection lacking diversity, yet again. Since the dating franchise began in 2002, there has been only one “Bachelorette” of color [...]

  • ABC Studios Logo

    ABC Studios Head of Alternative Fernando Hernandez Exits

    ABC Studios’ head of alternative Fernando Hernandez has departed from his post at the Disney-owned television studio, a source familiar with the situation told Variety. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news. Hernandez’s exit follows an executive shuffling at the top in recent months that has included the departure of Amy Hartwick, ABC Studio’s head [...]

  • Rob Cowan, Greg Silverman'The Conjuring 2'

    Greg Silverman’s Stampede, School of Rock Team for Unscripted Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Former president of Warner Bros. Pictures Greg Silverman is partnering with School of Rock through his content creation company Stampede. The collaboration with the music school will create exclusive content, starting with the development of an unscripted series.  School of Rock operates a network of performance-based education franchises that offer students of all ages guidance [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content