AMC’s Breaking Badpremiered to solid numbers Sunday night, averaging 1.4 million total viewers and 785,000 adults 18-49 from 10 p.m.-11 p.m., according to Nielsen Media Research.
Those numbers were good given that the show premiered during the end of the National Football Conference Championship on Fox, which drew more than 50 million viewers.
Breaking Bad, about a terminally ill teacher who starts dealing crystal meth to support his family, doubled AMC’s 2007 primetime average in the 18-49 demo and was 107% better than its 2007 average with men in that demo. It also grew double digits over its lead-in, the network premiere of male-skewing movie The Matrix.
Most important for AMC was that the network ranked fourth in cable during primetime with its target male 25-54 audience, following USA Network, TNT and Comedy Central. It also successfully drew males after the football game finished, growing 47% with males 18-49 and 90% with males 18-34 in its 10:30 p.m. hour.
Breaking Bad is AMC’s second original scripted drama, following this summer’s critical darling, Mad Men. That show, a period piece about the advertising industry, premiered to 1.6 million viewers and earned a second-season pickup, acclaim in the press and two Golden Globe Awards after its run ended, despite significant ratings fall-off.