Breaking Bad and Mad Men have put AMC on the map for viewers and advertisers. The season premiere of Walter White's journey drew a record for AMC -- 5.9 million live viewers and who knows how many more on DVR and on-demand over the next several days. Those are numbers any of the broadcast networks would love to have these days.
Although I watched Mad Men from the start, I didn't get into Breaking Bad until last spring. Friends had been telling us about it for years, but somehow it just never made it onto our viewing schedule. Then my wife came home from the library with the first four seasons on DVD. We started watching it and we got hooked. We binge-watched -- a term I had never heard until we did it. Over an entire weekend and a few weeknights we watched the entire first four seasons, stopping pretty much only to walk the dog or ourselves. We even ate in front of the TV, which we rarely do.
We watched Season 5 when it came out on DVD in June, and then we had to wait a couple of months until the final season. The episode Sunday didn't disappoint, but now -- like everyone else -- we have to wait a week to see what happens next.
AMC has done a masterful job hyping the return of the show. Stories have been virtually everywhere in the media, including in the business section of The New York Times and the marketing section of The Wall Street Journal.
AMC has enjoyed not only a big audience, but bigger than usual rates for ads in the show. And, in another smart move, they held off showing the coming attractions until a commercial break well into the premiere of a new cop series that they aired right after Breaking Bad.
So however things break for Walter White, his cooking partner partner Jesse and his DEA agent brother-in-law Hank, it's breaking good -- really good -- for AMC.