As if the whole five-season run of Breaking Bad amounted only to the meticulous construction of a deadly machine that could obliterate the AMC drama’s enemies in a matter of seconds, Walter White went out in a blaze of glory that netted 10.3 million viewers last night. That number, via an AMC press release, gives “Felina” a larger audience than early Nielsen estimates for any non-football program on the broadcast networks, boosting Breaking Bad above Sunday-night juggernauts like Once Upon A Time and The Amazing Race, as well as the cartoon stalwarts of Fox’s Animation Domination. NFL bleed-over gives 60 Minutes a slight edge over the finale, with 10.39 million total viewers, but it’s still close enough to suggest that the roll call at the top of the newsmagazine’s next installment ought to be “I’m Steve Kroft, I’m Lesley Stahl, I’m Morley Safer, I’m Lara Logan, I’m Norah O’Donnell, and I’m Scott Pelley—those stories and blue meth tonight. Bitch.”
Much humbler were the ratings garnered by Showtime’s Sunday-night premieres, numbers that should grow significantly once 7-day DVR numbers are factored in (and the end of a show whose year-to-year ratings grew 300 percent is factored out). 1.9 million viewers stopped by to see if Homeland figured itself out between seasons, while 1 million stuck around to see Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan talk about sex (baby) on the premiere of Masters Of Sex. Of course, those are the kinds of ratings Breaking Bad used to get way back in its first season, so if Masters Of Sex ever ends up streaming on Netflix (and the success enjoyed by Breaking Bad suggests it should, Showtime Anytime be damned) expect tens of millions of Showtime subscribers to tune in in four years as the publication of Masters and Johnson’s Human Sexual Inadequacy caps off season five.
For more detailed numbers, visit TV By The Numbers.