Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul is biggest ever US cable TV debut

It was the cult programme to end all cult programmes, yet Breaking Bad has spawned another colossal hit, Better Call Saul, which just became the biggest debut in US cable TV history.

The new show is a spin-off which focuses on on crooked lawyer Saul Goodman, played by Bob Odenkirk (pictured).

It joins him early in his career and tracks how his legal dealings took a turn for the criminal, as well as including appearances from familiar faces from the original series.

Better Call Saul premiered on AMC on Sunday, and its audience figures of 6.9 million viewers and 3.4 rating among adults 18-49 both make it the best series premiere in cable history, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The channel's existing hit drama The Walking Dead also returned for a new series on the same night with 15.6 million viewers, meaning only the Grammys drew in a bigger audience for US TV that week.

Fictional lawyer Saul first appeared on TV in the series Breaking Bad as the legal representative for crystal-meth-cooking chemistry teacher Walter White.

Jonathan Banks, who played Mike Ehrmantraut in Breaking Bad, is also back for the spin-off series.

Patrick McLennan

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.