'Better Call Saul' Sets Cable Demo Marks In Premiere

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.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.