'Breaking Bad' Returns With Series High 5.9 Million Viewers; 'Low Winter Sun' Debuts to 2.5 Million Viewers

Categories: 2-Featured,Network TV Press Releases

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August 12th, 2013

Breaking Bad Blood Money

Your predictions were accurate. Assuming there are no further adjustments, the premiere earned a huge 2.8 adults 18-49 rating.

via press release:





  4.2 HH RATING  3.6 MILLION ADULTS 18-49 





New York, NY – August 12, 2013 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 9pm – 10pm, 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.

On Saturday night, AMC’s Hell on Wheels returned with a two-hour season three premiere, delivering 2.5 million viewers, up 2% from the season two premiere and double AMC’s Saturday prime time average.

“We are so pleased and gratified by viewer response to a historic four-premiere weekend on AMC,” said AMC’s president and general manager, Charlie Collier. “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 7:23pm EST generated 25,175 retweets. Peak activity for the show on Twitter was at 9pm 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:

  • 9pm airing – 4.2 HH rating with 5.9 million viewers: +91%/+102% vs. season 5 premiere
  • 9pm airing – 3.6 million Adults 18-49:  +87% vs. season 5 premiere
  • 9pm airing – 3.3 million Adults 25-54: +81% vs. season 5 premiere

Key Nielsen Highlights for the series premiere of Low Winter Sun:

  • 10pm airing – 1.8 HH rating with 2.5 million viewers
  • 10pm airing – 1.4 million Adults 18-49
  • 10pm airing – 1.3 million Adults 25-54

Key Nielsen Highlights for the series premiere of Talking Bad:

  • 11pm airing – .94 HH rating with 1.2 million viewers
  • 11pm airing – 679,000 Adults 18-49
  • 11pm airing – 672,000 million Adults 25-54

 Source: Nielsen Fast Nationals, 8/11/13, L+SD

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 Mike Frislev and Chad Oakes from Nomadic Pictures.

About AMC

Whether commemorating favorite films from every genre and decade or creating acclaimed original programming, AMC brings to its audience something deeper, something richer, Something More. The network reigns as the only cable network in history ever to win the Emmy® Award for Outstanding Drama Series four years in a row, and boasts the most-watched drama series in basic cable history with The Walking Dead. AMC’s original drama series include Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Killing and Hell on Wheels. Its newest series, Low Winter Sun, premiered this summer.  AMC also explores authentic worlds with bold characters through its slate of unscripted original series like Comic Book Men, Small Town Security, Talking Dead, Talking Bad and Freakshow. 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: Something More.


  • Tony JJ

    Wow! Netflix is to thank here big time. The buzz and the hype really helped people catch up on their own. And those are crazy numbers!!!

    Low Winter Sun did good. It was okay. The beginning was very confusing, but by the end I like it more than the beginning. Ill keep watching and hope it gets better!

    Hell on Wheels did great in total viewers. I bet it did bad in adults 18-49 but its a Saturday. It’ll probably get renewed if it stays above 2 million.

    Here’s hoping netflix and BET help Scandal increase like crazy come October 3rd!

  • ItsFullAlready88

    Very nice numbers, truly fantastic semi-half-season premiere episode.

  • Nope

    Yikes. That’s insane. AMC has got to be considering aborting this “final episodes” thing, filming a new ending, and going another year.

  • Tony JJ


    WOULD NEVER HAPPEN. Even if it scored walking dead type numbers 6.0+. It’s ending.

  • Greg

    Hell on Wheels tied with Low Winter Sun? That’s pretty great. Let’s see how it holds up, but I’m guessing it will only drop once fall season begins (which will be in its last two or three episodes).

  • AllOfHerTwist

    Breaking Huge!

  • CS’ Revenge

    I still never really seen this show but I was watching Ray Donovan over it.

  • Ultima

    AMC has got to be considering aborting this “final episodes” thing, filming a new ending, and going another year.

    No, they don’t have to consider it and almost certainly won’t.

  • John


    The show is going to end this year, these ratings will fast track the proposed Saul spinoff

  • Oliver

    …they should consider putting it back into production and shooting 3-4 more episodes before the finale.

    I mean, they won’t, but it wouldn’t be a crazy decision.

  • Ultima

    …they should consider putting it back into production and shooting 3-4 more episodes before the finale.

    Because when you’ve already filmed the final episodes of a series, it’s a good idea to throw them out and add a few more in much haste and with no preparation at the last minute! :roll:

  • Tom

    I don’t understand. TVByTheNumbers said 2.8 rtg 18-49, but the press release said 3.6…?

  • Oliver


    Why would they have to throw episodes out? They can re-edit existing material and hold the finale.

    It happens all the time on broadcast.

  • Oliver


    One is millions of viewers, one is the rating in %.

  • Ultima

    I don’t understand. TVByTheNumbers said 2.8 rtg 18-49, but the press release said 3.6…?

    A rating is expressed as a percentage of the whole. There were 3.6 million viewers aged 18-49, which is 2.8% of that demographic.

  • Ultima

    Why would they have to throw episodes out? They can re-edit existing material and hold the finale.

    It happens all the time on broadcast.

    So you’ve gone from restarting production to just re-editing it to expand it from eight episodes to a dozen?

    How could it possibly be a good idea to take the final eight episodes, which are already scripted out and filmed and expand it by ~50% at the last minute?

    It’s one thing if you have more good story than you planned and expand a finale from an hour to 90-minutes or a two-parter into a three-parter or something like that. What you’re suggesting is completely ridiculous and unreasonable.

  • sam

    Yeah ratings bitch

  • Evan

    Damn AMC must be jumping for joy! Hell On Wheels matched its normal ratings on SATURDAY? I’m shocked. Not sure if those numbers include the like 5 repeat airings. Still i thought it was only going to get like 1 million at most.

    And Breaking bad did amazing AMC probably never thought it would hit that high.

    Not sure what to think about Low Winter Sun. 2.5 million is great on AMC but following Breaking Bad that hit almost 6 million viewers. Have to think what it would have gotten without Breaking Bad lead in.

  • Doug

    Wow! I was thinking maybe a 2.0, but this really shows what good word-of-mouth and a slow build does for a series. Remember back in season 1 when it struggled to break 2 million viewers and hovered around a 0.7 rating. I think it was still pulling those numbers into season 3.

  • Doug

    Just to add – it’s funny that Mad Men, the AMC critical and awards darling, had never broken out of the ratings box like TWD and now BB. I too enjoy Mad Men, but it has so clearly been eclipsed on the network. I guess that’s a nice problem to have for AMC.

    As for filming new episodes – LOL! But I would guess that this means a fast track for the Saul Goodman spin-off. Can we get Wendy on that too? I really want to see her at least once during the final 7.

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