TV drama Breaking Bad has scored its highest audience yet in the US, as the show’s final run begins.
A total of 5.9 million viewers tuned in to cable channel AMC on Sunday night, doubling the audience of the opening episode of the last series.
Only zombie drama The Walking Dead has proved a bigger hit for the channel, pulling in 8.1 million fans earlier this year.
Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston as a chemistry teacher turned meth dealer.
Its audience has grown steadily through word of mouth, DVD sales and critical acclaim. The first series averaged 1.2 million viewers, while the most recent series was seen by 2.6 million.
The gritty drama is not afraid to pull its punches, killing off key players and charting the moral tailspin of Bryan Cranston’s character, Walter White.
Breaking Bad has won five Emmys since it debuted in 2008, and is up for a further eight prizes at this year’s ceremony on September 22.
After Sunday night’s premiere, only seven episodes remain.