For a show that has seen its commercial success and critical reputation skyrocket during its latter seasons, the Nielsen ratings from last night’s series finale can now confirm just how dominant AMC’s Breaking Bad was in its final sprint. The show pulled in an average audience of 10.3 million according to Nielsen, a viewership that is nearly double that of last week’s 6.6 million viewers. The Walking Dead is the only show that has brought in as many viewers for AMC when it scored 12.4 million viewers for its season finale last year. According to Nielsen’s records, last night’s concluding episode was the third largest cable series finale ever, finishing behind HBO’s The Sopranos’ 11.9 million viewers and Sex and the City’s 10.6 million viewers during each of their respective final episodes.
Since the show’s debut in 2008, Breaking Bad simply hasn’t slowed down in terms of viewership. Though it initially stumbled out of the gates with only 1.2 million average viewers during its first season, the show’s average viewership for this season came in at an impressive 7.6 million. Even its ‘post-game’ talk show Talking Bad drew 4.4 million on Sunday, beating out the 3.5 million viewers who tuned into the season five premiere of_Mad Men_, which was the show’s most watched episode. Though it really isn’t fair to turn TV ratings into a competition, it’s safe to say that Better Call Saul is going to have quite a lot to live up to.