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'Breaking Bad' breaks its own ratings record, lights up Twitter

“Breaking Bad” smashed its previous ratings’ record when 5.9 million viewers tuned into AMC for Sunday’s midseason premiere.

That’s an impressive 102 percent jump over the series’s season five debut last summer. It’s also a testament to the power of binge viewing and catching up with a series via streaming. Netflix, for example, made it easy to watch previous seasons of the critically-acclaimed drama while it was off the air, allowing Sunday’s heavily-hyped premiere to launch in front of a bigger audience populated with plenty of newfound fans.

Some 3.6 million of “Breaking Bad’s” viewers Sunday fell into the advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-old demographic, making the show second only to AMC’s “The Walking Dead” in this key demo across all cable networks.

The first of the final eight episodes of “Breaking Bad” also lit up Twitter, with 759,689 show-related tweets from nearly 400,000 unique users. (Although Fox’s Teen Choice Awards won the Twitter crown by a very comfortable margin, sparking 4,430,231 tweets and ranking as the most-tweeted TV show Sunday and all of last week.)

Aaron Paul, who plays Jesse Pinkman on “Breaking Bad,” got more than 25,000 retweets for this Twitter missive:

When “Breaking Bad” debuted in 2008, it averaged 1.23 million viewers its first season.

Seven episodes remain before the series wraps for good Sept. 29.