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'Breaking Bad' Finale Surges To Record High Ratings

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It's no surprise that Breaking Bad went out with a bang, but the series finale racked up exponentially higher ratings than ever before.

EW reports that last night's series finale was watched by 10.3 million people. Compare that to the fourth season finale, which earned a then-respectable 1.9 million viewers.

The show's fifth season ratings have been steadily going up: The second half of the season premiere delivered what was then a record 5.9 million viewers, according to EW, then that rose to 6.4, with last week's next-to-last episode earning 6.6 million viewers.

That means that viewership was up an astounding 442 percent from the cliffhanger fifth midseason finale and 300 percent from the fourth season, according to EW and Zap2it.com's calculations.

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Creator Vince Gilligan told EW, "I can't even believe that the ratings have increased with each episode—I just think it's wonderful. People have asked me, 'Does it make you want to go on and do a bunch more episodes now?'Just the opposite. It makes me think, through quite a bit of good luck being involved, we really did pick the right moment to exit the stage."

With that kind of viewership, AMC's hit series siphoned a big chunk of viewers from network TV, which was down between 16 and 33 percent. AMC charged $400,000 per 30-second commercial during the finale, the same rate as network shows do.

The finale set new records for the show on Twitter, with 1.24 million Tweets from 601,370 unique users during the live broadcast window of both the EST and PST telecasts, Zap2it.com reports. The show hit a peak of 22,373 tweets-per-minute as the final episode began in the East. Bryan Cranston's farewell tweet "Well, this is it… Thank you for sharing this ride with me.." was retweeted more than 51,000 times.

Gilligan notably thanked Netflix after Breaking Bad scored its first Best Drama Emmy, since so many people caught up with the show well into its run by streaming episodes online.

Related:
Photos: 'Breaking Bad' Cast Celebrates Finale With 100s Of Fans And The Meth RV