“Breaking Bad” breaks the competition

Breaking-Bad-Season-51Forget the major networks, Sunday night belonged to Walter White.

The series finale of AMC’s Emmy-winning drama Breaking Bad after eight seasons was the most watched entertainment show of the evening, drawing 10.3 million viewers and a 5.3 rating among adults 18-49, translating to about 6.7 million viewers. Bad finished only behind the finales of HBO’s Sopranos (11.9 million in 2007), and Sex In The City (10.6 million in 2004.)

Reaction to Bad’s final episode were positive; more so than the series ender of Dexter a few weeks back.

The after show (Talking Bad) also did well, drawing 4.4 million viewers  and a 2.9 rating among adults 18-49. Many complained about the presence of Jimmy Kimmel on the show – didn’t he had enough exposure this past week with his feud with the Chicago celebrity embarrassment not named Jim Belushi, Jenny McCarthy, or Mancow (otherwise known as Kanye West – and Jeff Garlin is getting real close to joining that list.)

Unless you’re NBC (the Sunday Night Football Patriots-Falcons game dominated with 20.5 million viewers and a 7.6/20 adult 18-49 rating), it was a surprisingly limp night for the other broadcast nets, as no entertainment series did better than a 3.0 adult demo rating. Many of these shows  – especially those on Fox and ABC should see a boost from DVR viewing in the coming days. With that said:

– Fox dominated early with a football run-over, but went downhill from there. Simpsons began its 25th season with a 2.9 rating, down from the 3.8 for last year’s premiere. That was followed by Bob’s Burgers (2.2), Family Guy (2.6) and TBS-bound American Dad (2.1). Despite these depressed 18-49 numbers, Fox’s Animation Domination is here to stay as the block’s strength lie more in the hard-to-reach young male demos, which are typically better.

– ABC started its evening with a 1.4 for an Once Upon A Time clip show, followed by the show’s season premiere (2.6). Up next was Revenge (2.3), followed by the DOA arrival of Betrayal (1.5), which dropped 35 percent from its lead-in.

– CBS was impacted by a football overrun in several markets, including New York and Chicago. With that said, 60 Minutes started the evening with 10.7 million viewers and a 1.4 adult demo rating. Like Fox’s animation block, 60 Minutes‘ strength lies in other demos beside 18-49. The Amazing Race followed with a 2.0 rating, finishing behind Fox and ABC. Despite drawing nine million viewers, Good Wife could manage only a 1.5 demo rating.

Finally, The Mentalist capped off the evening with 9.7 million viewers and a 1.6 demo rating. Mentalist’s rating track almost resembles the plight of Marcus Welby, M.D. in the 1970’s – a top rated series in the beginning (Welby was the most-watched series of the 1970-71 season), only to plunge to the bottom of the ratings toward the end of its run (of course, there are many more examples like this.) In its first season, Mentalist drew on average 20 million viewers a week and ranked at or near the top.