Breaking Badly? How Will Feud with Dish Network Impact Ratings for the Season Premiere of AMC’s ‘Breaking Bad?’

Categories: Cable TV

Written By

July 15th, 2012

Update: the folks who voted in the poll called this one right. Breaking Bad set series highs in its 5th season premiere.

When Dish Network first pulled AMC’s channels (AMC WEtv and IFC) off of Dish when the parties couldn’t reach a new carriage agreement, my guess was that it would all be resolved by July 15 when Breaking Bad marked its fifth season premiere.  Well it’s July 15 and at least so far my guess was wrong and I may now have to change my guess to October 14 when AMC’s legitimate cable ratings hit The Walking Dead returns for its third season.

AMC has somewhat staunched the impact of their impasse with Dish Network for Dish subscribers by streaming the premiere of Breaking Bad free to Dish customers at 10p ET tonight. But I'm guessing that's not going to count in the ratings.

In a different dispute, Viacom has pulled its 17 channels off of DirecTV. There's plenty of anecdotal data that suggests that networks like Nickelodeon and MTV have certainly taken a ratings hit since the channels were pulled. But  many more people regularly watch those networks than AMC to begin with plus DirecTV is in more homes than Dish (~20 million vs. ~14 million).

So what will be the impact be on Breaking Bad's premiere ratings?  Last season Breaking Bad set a record in its premiere with a 1.1 adults 18-49 rating. The season finale, while perhaps epic, did not set a new ratings record and scored a 1.0 adults 18-49 rating. Similarly while the recent season 5 finale of Mad Men set a record in terms of total viewers for a Mad Men season finale (2.7 million) it pulled just a 0.9 adults 18-49 rating. By comparison The Walking Dead's season finale on March 18 scored a massive 4.7 adults 18-49 rating.  So whatever the impact on Breaking Bad is tonight, it won't be nearly as big as it will be if AMC and Dish don't work things out before October 14.

But 14 million homes isn't nothing and while neither Mad Men nor Breaking Bad are anywhere near the same ratings league as The Walking Dead, they are the cream of AMC's ratings crop outside of The Walking Dead.

My guess is Breaking Bad pulls around a 0.9 adults 18-49 rating and the impact of the feud with Dish won't be very clear.  What's your guess?


  • Greg


  • Nolose

    My guess .8

    What about political animal?

  • Californiadgd

    I hope > 1.1 but maybe .9-1.0

  • David

    I have been seeing Brian and Aaron doing my TV appearances for the show than any previous seasons and I think it will hit 1.1 again or pass it. With Dish I think it would have certainly been about 1.1, but without I am not so sure.

  • Steve

    I’ve followed the AMC/Dish conflict closely since it broke out into the public. And I’d say that Dish’s actions in the dispute are reprehensible. It starts with the judge in their VOOM case ruling that Dish had intentionally destroyed evidence relating to the case, and denying Dish’s request for a delay in trial. A few days later, Dish announced they were dropping AMC.

    As for messaging, Dish has continually insulted fans of AMC programming like “Breaking Bad”, by calling it “extraneous” programming every day on their Facebook page. Plus, at first, Dish said viewers could just watch AMC programs online. Then, weeks later, they started saying that AMC “devalued” their content by even offering it online. Then, to make the hypocrisy complete, they start offering their subscribers Roku boxes to stream it online, after yanking AMC off the dish.

  • Polar Bear

    16 million viewers

  • JVO

    It will be a series high, the only impact the Dish conflict will have is record torrenting for the show.

  • merraanga

    seems like a silly premise for an article. will the DISH feud impact ratings? of course it will. will that affect show in any way? absolutely not.

  • Dan S

    While I sincerely hope it breaks a record I went with 1.0 based on the Dish dispute. This show is a true gem & will sincerely miss it after it leaves the air next year. If I were a Dish customer I would dump them without hesitation

  • steve

    I’m saying 0.8

  • Joe

    BB season finale was 1.0 not 0.9 i remember it very clear

  • Do final seasons usually score higher than the seasons before? Also, lots and lots of people are catching up/been catching up on the show…It’s also possible that people switched to a different provider.

  • disney rocks

    Are you going to do a Leverage poll?

  • Joe

    he fourth season finale of Breaking Bad was up two tenths from the previous week to a 1.0 adults 18-49 rating, above its season three finale, but below its season four premiere.

    Breaking Bad AMC 10:00 PM 1.897 1.0

  • Walt

    Disney Rocks, doubt it considering nobody cares about Leverage

  • One

    I’d drop the “cable” part from the description of Walking Dead’s status. It was one of the top five dramas on all of TV last year.

  • One

    Also, I thought the finale scored a 1.0, not an 0.9…

  • Joe
  • Walt

    So, Joe, you’re on a Breaking Bad article and you’re calling Leverage the best show ever? Oh, this does not end well for you! LOL

  • Lee

    Why do we care about BrBa’s ratings? The show has a final sixteen episodes, AMC will never cancel it. I mean, yeah, the feud will affect it, but not by much. And even then, since everyone knows that we’re coming up on the end of the series and the other fans we’ve added via word of mouth, it’s still going to be a series high. What I’d be more concerned about is Dish Network’s longevity as a major television provider.

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