The Breaking Bad series finale went out with a bang last night, clocking 10.3 million viewers – a record for the iconic AMC series. The finale skyrocketed 300% over last year’s finale in the demo, capping a historic run for the basic cable network. After that, an expanded Talking Bad delivered 4.4 million viewers. “Breaking Bad is simply unique,” said Charlie Collier, AMC president. “It all starts with Vince Gilligan who really only ever asked for one thing – the opportunity to end the show on his own terms. That is exactly what Vince did last night and, as always, brilliantly so. Congratulations to Vince and to every single person involved in this remarkable journey. We’re proud that AMC will forever be known as the birthplace and home of this iconic show and, at the same time, we tip our Heisenberg hat to the fans who made this a truly shared experience.”
The show – a media darling, but considered something of a niche show based on ratings — had been clocking in the 3-4 million range during its run. But, heading into the final few episodes, the show’s ratings shot up. One week earlier, the penultimate episode premiered to nearly 7 million and the week before that pushed past 6 mil. Expect broadcasters to cite Breaking Bad’s record highs (not to mention Showtime’s Homeland and Masters Of Sex launches) when explaining last night’s Premiere Week Sunday launch lows. Clever advertisers had anticipated the ratings spike; AMC told out its ad inventory for the finale and some of those 30-se spots you saw in the show last night cost as much as $400,000, which puts them in Modern Family range. The network did a masterful job revving up the show’s super-fans, with a full-run-of-the-series marathon last week – which played out nicely right after the TV academy crowned BB the year’s best drama series.
From AMC’s victory-lap announcement:
Key Nielsen Highlights for the Breaking Bad series finale
- 9 pm airing – 6.5 HH rating with 10.3 million viewers
- 9 pm airing – 6.7 million Adults 18-49
- 9 pm airing – 5.6 million Adults 25-54
Key Nielsen Highlights for the Talking Bad finale
- 10:15 pm airing – 2.9 HH rating with 4.4 million viewers
- 10:15 pm airing – 2.9 million Adults 18-49
- 10:15 pm airing – 2.4 million Adults 25-54
The Breaking Bad series finale set new records for the show on Twitter, with 1.24 million Tweets from 601,370 unique users during the live broadcast window of both the EST and PST telecasts. The show hit a peak of 22,373 Tweets-per-minute just as the final episode began in the East, and a Bryan Cranston Tweet, “Well, this is it… Thank you for sharing this ride with me…” has generated more than 51,000 Retweets and nearly 34,000 Favorites so far. Over the course of the night, Worldwide and United States trending topics on Twitter related to the show included #GoodbyeBreakingBad, #AMC, #BreakingBad, #BreakingBadFinale, #Heisenberg, #HelloGretchen and #GoodbyeLydia.