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‘Breaking’ News: ‘Bad’ Bow Scores Big Numbers

Across-the-board gains give the Bryan Cranston drama its best ratings ever

"Breaking Bad" is breaking out big time for AMC, with Sunday’s season-three premiere scoring series-best tune-in.

The Bryan Cranston series averaged 2 million viewers at 10 p.m. Sunday, up double digits from the 1.7 million who watched last year’s season-two bow. Add in another 1.3 million who watched 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. encores, and 3.3 million folks caught the premiere episode last night.

In adults 18-49, "Bad" averaged 1.145 million viewers — a nice gain from the 929,000 under-50 score that season two’s premiere averaged.

Comparing Sunday’s premiere with "Bad’s" season-two average produces even more impressive gains, like an 80 percent increase in women 18-34 and a 65 leap in adults 18-49. However, since most cable shows tend to get their biggest numbers with their premiere and finale ratings, comparing a show’s bow to a season average that includes lower-rated regular-season episodes isn’t the best way to gauge a show’s overall growth.

Nonetheless, "Bad" is breaking the right way for AMC. Indeed, Sunday’s premiere was within spitting distance of the 1.2 million adults 18-49 who viewed last year’s season-three bow of AMC’s signature series "Mad Men."