With the premiere of the first episode of its final season Sunday night, “Breaking Bad” did a lot more than impress fans and critics. “Breaking Bad” also nearly doubled its highest ratings, drawing in 5.9 million viewers.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, “Breaking Bad” began its fifth season last year with a then-record high of 2.9 million viewers, ultimately reaching a series peak of 3 million for the season’s next-to-last episode. In comparison, Sunday night’s episode “Blood Money” blew previous ratings numbers out of the water.
In addition to 5.9 million total viewers, “Breaking Bad” brought in 3.6 million viewers in the 18-49 year-old demographic favored by advertisers. As the critically beloved “Breaking Bad” comes to an end over the next seven episodes, it’s likely that ratings numbers will continue to rise even further on the way to the season finale.
While “Breaking Bad” set a new high with its season premiere, its follow up – AMC’s new drama “Low Winter Sun” – suffered a steep dropoff. “Low Winter Sun” drew only 2.5 million viewers, less than half of the numbers for “Breaking Bad.” The New York Times reports that numbers were even worse for the coveted 18-49 demographic, with only 1.4 million viewers in that age group tuning in. Additionally, given that AMC placed a teaser trailer for the next “Breaking Bad” episode in the middle of “Low Winter Sun,” it seems likely that a percentage of those viewers were only tuning in for the sneak peak.
Following “Low Winter Sun,” AMC also premiered another new series, the “Breaking Bad” recap “Talking Bad.” Similar to another AMC talk show “The Talking Dead,” “Talking Bad” gathered Nerdist host Chris Hardwick and “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan to discuss the latest episode of “Breaking Bad.” ”Talking Bad” only brought in 1.2 million viewers, but its performance likely suffered some from following “Low Winter Sun” rather than “Breaking Bad.”