AMC’s Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul –benefiting from a huge Walking Dead audience lead in and the legacy of its predecessor-- set all-time ratings highs for a cable premiere in key demos, AMC said Monday.
Better Call Saul averaged 6.9 million total viewers and set premiere records within the 18-49 (4.4 million) and 25-54 (4.0 million viewers) demos, said network officials. The 18-to-49 delivery surpassed the 4 million for USA's The Dead Zone, which bowed in 2002, while Saul matched the 4 million with the older group generated by the Anthony Michael Hall-starrer.
The series bow no doubt was aided by big lead-in from cable’s top rated series, The Walking Dead, which pinned down 15.6 million viewers for the second half of the zombie-themed series' fifth season.
The network’s post Walking Dead talk show series Talking Dead aftershow delivered 2.8 million viewers and 1.9 million 18-49 viewers, according to network officials.
“In a competitive environment that sometimes gets as much press as the shows themselves, it is gratifying to deliver programming that breaks through and reaches passionate audiences,”said AMC president Charlie Collier.
The second part of Saul's premiere event is scheduled for 10 p.m. on Monday, so AMC will get a better read on the popularity of the Breaking Bad prequel. Following a rundown of Breaking Bad's final season throughout Monday, last night's Saul pilot will air at 9 p.m. ahead of the series' second installment.