Bryan Cranston

The Season 4 debut of Breaking Bad on Sunday night defied conventional ratings trends, attracting 2.6 million viewers to become the series' most-watched episode -- 32 percent more than the third-season premiere. And 1.5 million of its viewers were in the industry-prized 18-to-49-year-old demographic.

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Ratings for the show have increased in each successive season. By comparison, though, that's still far shy of the 5.3 million people who tuned into the debut of AMC's zombie drama The Walking Dead — for which a sneak peek of Season 2 aired during Breaking Bad.

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Meantime, on the broadcast networks, CBS' solid ratings performer, Big Brother 13, drew 6.89 million people in the 8/7c time slot and scored Sunday night's highest demo rating by far, 2.4 (down from 7.16 million and 2.5 a week earlier). And because Jerry Seinfeld's The Marriage Ref  has set the bar so low for itself, the 3.18 million people it managed to reel in was up substantially from the meager 2.04 million a week ago and up 25 percent in the demo ratings — from a series-low 0.8 to 1.0. It was still last in prime time's final hour against reruns of CBS' CSI: Miami (5.35 million viewers) and ABC's Body of Proof (4.02 million).