July 16, 2012 12:08pm PT by Michael O'Connell
'Breaking Bad' Returns to Record 2.9 Million Viewers
The fifth and final season of Breaking Bad kicked off to record numbers Sunday night on AMC.
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The drama pulled in 2.9 million viewers during its inaugural broadcast 10 p.m. ET, growing 14 percent over last summer's debut and making it the most-watched episode to date.
Additionally, Breaking Bad saw a 34 percent season over season gain among adults 18-49, with 1.9 million tuning into the broadcast.
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With encores Breaking Bad pulled a total of 3.5 million viewers for the night.
“From day one, Breaking Bad has been a passion project for all of us at AMC," said network president Charlie Collier. "This show has helped define what our brand stands for in terms of supporting quality storytelling and creative risk-taking. Working with these terrifically creative people on such outstanding material has been a joy-filled ride. I’m so pleased to share this success with the entire Breaking Bad team."
First announced in 2011, AMC is splitting up Breaking Bad's final season, with the first half of the 16-episode run airing over the next eight weeks.