The return Sunday of "Breaking Bad" for its final eight episodes broke a ratings record for the critically acclaimed series, attracting 5.9 million viewers, a whopping 102 percent increase over last summer's Season 5 premiere, according to AMC.
(For those playing along at home: The fifth and final season has been broken up over two summers. For maximum agony.)
Of the 5.9 million who tuned in to see the latest adventures of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a high school chemistry teacher-turned-meth mogul, it's estimated 3.6 million were between the ages of 18 and 49 -- the sweet spot for most advertisers. That put the series, or a least this episode of it, just behind AMC's "The Walking Dead," which is No. 1 in that demographic among all cable networks.
So it's not just Walt raking in the money anymore.
Even with the people who stayed off Twitter to avoid spoilers, the show generated "759,689 total show-related Tweets from nearly 400,000 unique users," according to AMC, which didn't mention that that wasn't even the most tweeted program of the night. (Nielsen, which now measures this, too, estimates more than 4.4 million tweets Sunday were tied to Fox's broacast of the Teen Choice Awards, which didn't do nearly as well as "Breaking Bad" in the actual Nielsens. The ones that still bring in the money. It estimates the "Breaking Bad"-related tweets at 565,057.)
"Low Winter Sun," the AMC premiere of a U.S. remake of a British series, appears to have benefited from the "Breaking Bad" lead-in, attracting 2.5 million viewers at 10 p.m. And "Talking Bad," the new after-series that premiered at 11, drew 1.2 million.