All hail the King indeed; the tagline has proven prophetic, and it’s another stellar return for an AMC series. Breaking Bad’s season 5 opener drew the biggest audience yet. The series has seen its viewership grow every year, which may well be attributed to the availability of the series on Netflix, allowing new viewers to become hooked in between seasons. The premiere ratings are definitely good news for AMC, showing that they don’t need DISH to get the viewers.

AMC is fresh off the triumphant return of Mad Men after a long hiatus to record ratings, and now Breaking Bad is making them look good again. EW says the premiere last night brought in 2.9 million viewers, which is an increase of 14% from last year’s premiere, and matches the numbers for the dramatic finale of season four.

AMC recently split with DISH – or rather, they were dumped – over a lawsuit, with the satellite provider no longer carrying the station. They responded by offering last night’s premiere of Breaking Bad free online to DISH customers. All the publicity certainly doesn’t seem to have hurt the ratings, that’s for sure. The goal of the streaming premiere was to encourage fans of the show to switch providers in order to catch new episodes.

Season 4 of Breaking Bad popped up on Netflix yesterday, conveniently timed with the fifth season premiere and likely increasing interest in the series, which is going into its final season. With ratings like these, it looks like the show will go out on top.

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