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With end in sight, ‘Breaking Bad’ goes on ratings spree

By Scott Collins, Los Angeles Times –

LOS ANGELES — “Breaking Bad” has saved the best for last.

Ending the first half of its last season Sunday, AMC’s drama starring Bryan Cranston as a terminally ill chemistry teacher who turns to meth dealing delivered 2.8 million total viewers for its 10 p.m. airing, according to Nielsen.

That’s a bit higher than “Breaking Bad’s” average this season (2.6 million), which has already been far and away its best in terms of ratings. An episode at the same point in the season last year drew 2 million viewers.

However, fans will have to wait a long time for those final eight episodes. AMC won’t bring them out until summer 2013.

The series premiere in 2008 drew 1.4-million viewers, so “Breaking Bad” has doubled its audience since that time — an unusual achievement during an era of dwindling audiences for most shows. The seventh episode this season, “Say My Name,” gathered 3 million, an all-time record for the show.

“ ‘Breaking Bad’ began 5 years ago with a pilot that was like nothing we had ever seen on television,” Charlie Collier, AMC’s president, said in a statement. “That ‘Breaking Bad’ continues to deliver at such a remarkable level creatively, now over 50 episodes later, is a rare accomplishment that begins with (creator) Vince Gilligan and the torch is carried by every member of the team on both sides of t

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