Breaking Bad finale sees record 10.3m viewers

AMC's Breaking Bad finale pulled in 10.3m viewers on Sunday evening, with the five seasons coming to a close with the network's second highest ratings of the year. The show, which followed anti-hero and terminally ill Walter White over the course of sixty-two episodes as he turned to crime in order to provide for his family, saw a 3.7m surge from the penultimate episode, Nielsen says.

The previous week, 6.6m viewers had watched the second-to-last Breaking Bad episode, Variety reports. That in itself was a sizable improvement over the show's middle seasons, which suffered around 2010.

Unfortunately, even 10.3m wasn't enough to give Breaking Bad the record at AMC. Hit show The Walking Dead saw 12.4m viewers glued to their screens, according to Nielsen's figures at the time.

There's apparently been a role for Netflix in Breaking Bad's trajectory, with the on-demand streaming service tipped to have helped fuel interest in the show while it was not playing live. That boost came in 2012, where episodes saw around 2.6m viewers on average.

The question for AMC, of course, is what comes next. Breaking Bad "will provide some brand sheen after it's gone" CEO Josh Sapan said last week, Bloomberg reports, but sheen won't guarantee eyeballs in the new season.

Instead, there's a spin-off in the pipeline by series creator Vince Gilligan and Sony Corp., called Better Call Saul and based around the lawyer character from the show, while AMC is also looking at a Walking Dead companion series.