'Breaking Bad' returned to our screens last night, kicking off the final eight episodes of its six-year run with "Blood Money," an intense and all-around perfect midseason premiere. It would make sense, logically, for the show to return to high ratings -- but Sunday night's numbers are in, and they're even higher than we expected.
5.9 million viewers tuned into "Blood Money," as it turns out, easily the highest ratings for an episode of the series ever. For 'Breaking Bad,' these are astounding numbers: the previous record holder, last year's "Say My Name," clocked in at 2.98 million viewers. So in the space of a little less than a year, 'Breaking Bad's' numbers have doubled.
AMC's new series, 'Low Winter Sun,' which premiered in the timeslot following 'Bad,' scored a solid (but not nearly as impressive) 2.5 million viewers. The 'Breaking Bad'-centric talk show 'Talking Bad' premiered to a less impressive 1.2 million viewers.
So why the big 'Bad' jump? That's probably thanks to the availability of 'Breaking Bad' over streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, as well as knowledge of the show spreading through word-of-mouth.
This makes 'Breaking Bad' AMC's second-highest rated series, firmly ahead of 'Mad Men' but still not anywhere close to ratings juggernaut 'The Walking Dead.' While these high ratings aren't terribly important (it's not like 'Breaking Bad' might get picked up for another season), it's still nice to see the show's greatness finally reflected in its ratings. High ratings also probably help the chances of potential spinoff series 'Better Call Saul,' a potential series that AMC would probably be foolish to turn down.
The next episode of 'Breaking Bad,' "Buried," airs Sunday, Aug. 18 at 9/8c on AMC.