AMC's 'Breaking Bad' Season 5 Premiere is Most-Watched Episode Ever

Categories: 2-Featured,Network TV Press Releases

Written By

July 16th, 2012


Those polled called it right, despite the squabble with Dish, Breaking Bad set records in its 10p premiere in total viewers (2.9 million) and adults 18-49 (~1.5 rating).

via press release:







2.2 HH RATING, +22%


1.9 MILLION ADULTS 18-49, +34%


New York – July 16, 2012 Last night’s season five debut of AMC’s “Breaking Bad” was the most watched episode in the history of the series. From 10pm – 11pm, the network earned a 2.2 HH rating delivering 2.9 million viewers. This marks an increase of +22%/ +14% respectively. Even more impressive is the exceptional growth among the coveted 18-49 demo, which saw a +34% increase versus last season’s premiere.  Among the Adults 25-54 demo, “Breaking Bad” delivered 1.8 million marking an increase of +28%. For the night, “Breaking Bad’s” season 5 premiere attracted 3.5 million viewers with the 10:00 pm EST premiere and the 11:30pm EST encore. In August, AMC announced the final 16 episodes to conclude the series.  “Breaking Bad” airs on AMC Sunday nights at 10pm ET/PT.


“From day one, ‘Breaking Bad’ has been a passion project for all of us at AMC. This show has helped define what our brand stands for in terms of supporting quality storytelling and creative risk-taking. Working with these terrifically creative people on such outstanding material has been a joy-filled ride. I’m so pleased to share this success with the entire ‘Breaking Bad’ team,” said Charlie Collier, AMC’s president. “We look forward to sharing the final 16 episodes with ‘Breaking Bad's’ passionate fans. As our marketing campaign says, ‘All hail ‘The King.’”


AMC is carried on every cable, satellite and TelCo provider except the Dish network.


Key Nielsen Highlights for the season five premiere of “Breaking Bad”:


  • 10pm airing – 2.2 HH rating with 2.9 million viewers: +22%/+14% vs. season 4 premiere
  • 10pm airing – 1.9 million Adults 18-49:  +34% vs. season 4 premiere
  • 10pm airing – 1.8 million Adults 25-54: +28% vs. season 4 premiere
  • 10 pm, 11:30 pm airings cumed to 3.5 million viewers


Source: The Nielsen Company, L+SD, 7/15/2012


Over the past five seasons, “Breaking Bad” has been heralded as one of the best TV dramas on television.

USA Today said, “As hard and sharp and brilliant as a diamond, and in the TV landscape, just as valuable. And, with only 16 episodes left, almost as rare.”  The New York Post said, “the best antihero on television. Not just today, but ever.” People Magazine called it, ““the best TV drama ever... Bad has taken the complexity of modern television storytelling to new levels.” The Toronto Star states, “the beginning of the end for the best show on television.”


“Breaking Bad” stars  Emmy® Award-winner Bryan Cranston as Walter White; Emmy® Award-winner Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman; Anna Gunn as Skyler White; Dean Norris as Hank Schrader; Betsy Brandt as Marie Schrader; RJ Mitte as Walter, Jr; Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman; and Jonathan Banks as Mike. “Breaking Bad” is filmed on location in Albuquerque, NM.


The series first premiered on AMC in January 2008 and follows protagonist Walter White, 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 received sixteen Emmy® Award nominations in the following categories: “Outstanding Drama Series” (2009, 2010); "Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series" for Bryan Cranston (2008, 2009, 2010); “Outstanding Supporting Actor” for Aaron Paul (2009, 2010); “Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series” for Vince Gilligan (2008) and Michelle MacLaren (2010); “Outstanding Cinematography for a one-hour series” for John Toll (2008) and Michael Slovis (2009, 2010); “Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series;” "Outstanding Single Picture Camera Editing for a Drama Series" for Lynne Willingham (2008, 2009) and Skip McDonald (2010); with six wins overall for Cranston (2008, 2009, 2010); Paul (2010); and Willingham (2008, 2009).


“Breaking Bad” is produced by High Bridge Productions, Inc. and Gran Via Productions in association with Sony Pictures Television for AMC.  Executive Producers are Vince Gilligan, Mark Johnson, and Michelle MacLaren; Co-Executive Producers Melissa Bernstein and Sam Catlin; Supervising Producers Peter Gould, George Mastras, and Tom Schnauz; Producers Moira Walley-Beckett, Bryan Cranston, and Diane Mercer; Produced By Stewart A. Lyons; Associate Producer Andrew Ortner, Staff Writer Gennifer Hutchison; and Director of Photography Michael Slovis.


About AMC

AMC reigns as the only cable network in history to ever win the Emmy® Award for Outstanding Drama Series four years in a row, as well as the Golden Globe® Award for Best Television Series - Drama for three consecutive years.  Whether commemorating favorite films from every genre and decade or creating acclaimed original programming, the AMC experience is an uncompromising celebration of great stories.  AMC's original stories include “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” “The Walking Dead,” “The Killing” and “Hell on Wheels.”  AMC further demonstrates its commitment to the art of storytelling with AMC’s Docu-Stories, a slate of unscripted original series, as well as curated movie franchises like AMC’s Can’t Get Enough and AMC’s Crazy About.  Available in more than 96 million homes (Source: Nielsen Media Research), AMC is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc. and its sister networks include IFC, Sundance Channel and WE tv.  AMC is available across all platforms, including on-air, online, on demand and mobile.  AMC: Story Matters HereSM.


About Sony Pictures Television

Sony Pictures Television is one of the television industry’s leading content providers.  It produces and distributes programming in every genre, including series, telefilms, theatrical releases and family entertainment around the world and for every platform:   broadcast and cable television, first-run and off-network syndication and digital distribution.  In addition to one of the industry’s largest libraries of feature films and television shows, SPT boasts a current program slate that includes the top-rated daytime dramas and game shows, landmark off-network series, original animated series and critically acclaimed primetime dramas, comedies and telefilms.  Internationally, SPT is a leader in local language productions around the world, some of which are co-produced with local partners, and sells SPE-owned formats in approximately 70 countries.  To better serve its clients and partners worldwide, SPT maintains offices throughout the world, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, the People’s Republic of China, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Venezuela and the United Kingdom. SPT's worldwide television networks portfolio is a key strategy in SPE's long-range commitment to the global marketplace, with 120 channel feeds, which are available in 159 countries reaching more than 500 million households worldwide.  SPT also creates original content for and manages SPE’s premium video website, Crackle.  Additionally, SPT owns Dutch entertainment company 2waytraffic, production company Embassy Row and Sony Movie Channel, and is a part owner of cable channel GSN, new 3D channel 3net, FEARnet, the premier horror/thriller website and VOD service, and national media sales company ITN Networks, Inc.  SPT advertiser sales is one of the premiere national advertising sales companies, handling the commercial inventory in SPT’s syndicated series as well as in all of SPE's digital businesses in the United States.  SPT ( is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company.


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  • Rocco

    That’s why I watch AMC shows. To see quality writing and acting on shows like Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Walking Dead.

    NOT for the reality junk, and definitely not for poorly written shows like the Killing.

  • John A

    @WaltI find it hard to believe if it was getting mid 1.s it would be ending. Its usual ratings are 0.6-0.9.

  • Craig

    I guess this only supports Dish’s claim that the price AMC was demanding was not equal to the viewership of AMC channels by Dish Network subscribers.

  • Bobby

    I know AMC also re-aired the entire series in order with a few episodes each night leading up to it. That’s how I just jumped on board through recording them and watching them during the day since they were on at random times. That could’ve definitely helped pick some added new fans up like myself. Very happy with this news!

  • Walt

    @John A – Even if it was getting mid 1.s, it wouldn’t change the fact that Vince Gilligan runs the show and has always known that the show has an expiry date considering the complex storyline. And most AMC shows (Except Walking Dead) get similar ratings. You’re acting like 5 seasons is nothing! It’s not like it’s ending after season 2… It’s had a long run!

  • Oliver

    I guess this only supports Dish’s claim that the price AMC was demanding was not equal to the viewership of AMC channels by Dish Network subscribers.

    How does it do that exactly, exactly?

    AMC’s argument is that its ratings (and value to customers) has vastly increased compared to Dish’s deal 5 years ago. In 2007, they had only just launched Mad Men to meager ratings, and Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead didn’t yet exist.

    AMC in 2012 is a much more valuable station than in 2007 and they want their cabler fees to reflect it.

  • CurlingIronLung99

    AMC is the best. I even enjoy their flops more than the network garbage.

  • joss

    yes awesome news cant wait to see sunday cable rating True Blood and Leverage were awesome too

  • Mrs. Angela Lansbury

    Cheers! Jolly good show.

  • D

    i have personally brought in 7-10 friends in the last 4 months. ive talked so much about the show that they all started streaming it and catching up for the season premiere. Word of mouth really does make a huge difference.

  • CJ

    Small Town Security is the show that will continue to take AMC to new heights!

  • nope

    nope, it’s a show that tells you they’re pocketing the profits of the other shows

  • Dan S

    I’m sorry for Dish customers who missed out on a truly satisfying return of Breaking Bad last night. Easily the best show on TV today & happy to see it finally getting a worthy audience. I own the 1st 4 seasons on Blu Ray & I hear that if Walter White is still alive at the end of Season 5 there could be a feature film. Can only hope will see more of him after Season 5 ends next year.

  • Ram510

    Is Dish really a factor, I’m having trouble thinking of 2 people who have Dish. Almost everyone I know has Comast, Direct TV or Cox


    I was one of those who recently caught up on what I now think is the best show on TV. I started watching Season 1 about a year ago with a combo of netflix and itunes, and even xbox live. My first live show was last night, and it was fantastic! If the momentum continues, is there even a slight hope of a season 6. With great writing, and short seasons, they could keep delivering another season or 2. I could see it going 8 seasons, especially if they keep it around 10 eps a season. Whatever happens it should go down as one of TV’s best ever!

  • Robert Seidman

    @Ram: is it really a factor for AMC? That’s hard to answer. But in general, out of all the homes with cable, FiOS or satellite, DISH accounts for ~14% of them.

  • J

    Yeaaa Bitch!!!! Magnets!!

  • Chris

    Two words: Dish who?

  • David

    @John A

    Vince does not want to run his show in the ground and he is ending it when he wants. Brain said a while back that he did not see it going past 5 seasons. The creators of Lost wanted to end Lost earlier, but they made a deal with Disney and continued it. This is not a procedural show so you cannot just keep pumping out episodes and it is best to leave with a great series like Chris Nolan will be doing with the last Batman movie.

  • Ike

    Dish is the #3 TV provider in the country with 14 million subscribers according to this:

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