AMC's Breaking Bad returned last night with the first of its eight final episodes, delivering 5.9 million viewers, the most in series history and up 102% over the show's season five premiere last summer. From 9 PM - 10 PM, the network earned a 4.2 HH rating delivering 3.3 million adults 25-54 and 3.6 million adults 18-49. Immediately following Breaking Bad, AMC premiered its newest dramatic series, Low Winter Sun, which got off to a strong start, attracting 2.5 million viewers. To close AMC's first ever three-premiere night, the Breaking Bad after-show, Talking Bad - hosted by Chris Hardwick and featuring discussion and analysis of this iconic television series - debuted with 1.2 million viewers.
With 3.6 million viewers among adults 18-49, Breaking Bad is second only to AMC's The Walking Dead in delivery to this key demographic, across all cable networks. With the success of these two shows, AMC is now home to cable's top two dramas among adults 18-49.
Here's what AMC president Charlie Collier had to say in a statement.
"We are so pleased and gratified by viewer response to a historic four-premiere weekend on AMC. For Breaking Bad to continue to deliver record-setting ratings in its fifth and final season is remarkable. Our new series, Low Winter Sun, is off to a strong start, and we have successfully launched another after-show in Talking Bad, which will super-serve Breaking Bad fans all the way through these final episodes. On Saturday, we also launched another night of original programming on AMC with Hell on Wheels, doubling our prime time average on Saturday nights, even before time shifting, and delivering the network's highest Saturday night rating all year."
The first of the final eight episodes of Breaking Bad also became an event on Twitter, with 759,689 total show-related Tweets from nearly 400,000 unique users - approximately two Tweets per unique user. Aaron Paul's (@aaronpaul_8) "It's so close I can almost taste the meth #BreakingBad" Tweet at 7:23 PM EST generated 25,175 retweets. Peak activity for the show on Twitter was at 9 PM EST - 11,799 Tweets-per-minute and at the end of the show at 10pm - 7,859 Tweets-per-minute. Twitter data from SocialGuide.
Key Nielsen Highlights for last night's return of Breaking Bad:
- 9 PM airing - 4.2 HH rating with 5.9 million viewers: +91%/+102% vs. Season 5 premiere
- 9 PM airing - 3.6 million Adults 18-49: +87% vs. Season 5 premiere
- 9 PM airing - 3.3 million Adults 25-54: +81% vs. Season 5 premiere
Key Nielsen Highlights for the series premiere of Low Winter Sun:
- 10 PM airing - 1.8 HH rating with 2.5 million viewers
- 10 PM airing - 1.4 million Adults 18-49
- 10 PM airing - 1.3 million Adults 25-54
Key Nielsen Highlights for the series premiere of Talking Bad:
- 11 PM airing - .94 HH rating with 1.2 million viewers
- 11 PM airing - 679,000 Adults 18-49
- 11 PM airing - 672,000 million Adults 25-54
From acclaimed writer, producer, director Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad is produced by Sony Pictures Television with Mark Johnson (Gran Via) and Michelle MacLaren serving as executive producers. Breaking Bad first premiered on AMC in January 2008 and follows protagonist Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a milquetoast high school chemistry teacher who lives in New Mexico with his wife, teenage son who has cerebral palsy and a new baby girl. White is diagnosed with Stage III cancer and given a prognosis of two years left to live. With a new sense of fearlessness based on his medical prognosis, and a desire to gain financial security for his family, White chooses to enter a dangerous world of drugs and crime and ascends to power in this world. The series explores how a fatal diagnosis such as White's releases a typical man from the daily concerns and constraints of normal society and follows his transformation from mild-mannered family man to a kingpin of the drug trade.
Breaking Bad has garnered seven Primetime Emmy Award wins and a Peabody, and been named to the American Film Institute's (AFI) list of the "Top 10 Programs of the Year" (2008, 2010, 2011, 2012). The explosive series that The Hollywood Reporter called "one of the greatest dramas in TV history," recently received 13 2013 Primetime Emmy Award nominations. Breaking Bad stars three-time Emmy Award-winner Bryan Cranston; two-time Emmy winner Aaron Paul; Anna Gunn; Dean Norris; Betsy Brandt; RJ Mitte and Bob Odenkirk.
Low Winter Sun is a contemporary story of murder, deception, revenge and corruption in a world where the line between cops and criminals is blurred. Low Winter Sun begins with the murder of a cop by a fellow Detroit detective. Seemingly the perfect crime, in reality the murder activates forces that will forever alter the detective's life, and pull him into the heart of the Detroit underworld. The series is a co-production between Endemol Studios and AMC Studios. Chris Mundy (Criminal Minds, Cold Case) serves as writer, executive producer and showrunner, which stars Mark Strong (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Zero Dark Thirty) and co-stars Lennie James (The Walking Dead, Jericho, Snatch). In addition to Mundy, Jeremy Gold, head of creative affairs for Endemol Studios, oversees the project with Greg Brenman, head of drama for Tiger Aspect.
Talking Bad is a weekly, half-hour live after-show and companion piece for its Emmy® Award-winning series, Breaking Bad. Hosted by Chris Hardwick, the series analyzes and examines every detail of Breaking Bad's final eight episodes. Talking Bad features Hardwick spending time with fans, actors, producers and TV enthusiasts, recapping that most recent Breaking Bad episode, and taking questions and comments from viewers. Fans may continue to engage with the after-show following the on-air conclusion, online, at AMC.com for more videos, weekly polls and photo galleries of the guests featured on the series. The series is produced by Michael Davies' Embassy Row with Sony Pictures Television serving as the studio partner.
In Hell on Wheels, Cullen Bohannon leaves his vengeance-seeking behind and invests in the new American landscape ... the beginnings of big business, big religion, and the new role of Wall Street in the White House. Bohannon must contend with racism, greed and murder as he single-mindedly leads the Union Pacific in its race across the country against the Central Pacific Railroad. The high stakes corporate race, the environmental costs and degradation of the native peoples' way of life are themes that resonate deeply in today's America.
Hell on Wheels was developed by Endemol USA. The series is produced by leading independent studio, Entertainment One (eOne) and Nomadic Pictures. eOne's Television CEO John Morayniss and EVP US scripted television Michael Rosenberg oversee production in partnership with co-producers Michael Frislev and Chad Oakes from Nomadic Pictures.