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The Walking Dead helped make Better Call Saul the biggest premiere in cable history

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AMC today proudly announced that Better Call Saul got off to a hugely successful start last night. The Bob Odenkirk-led Breaking Bad spinoff attracted 4.4 million viewers in the key 18-49 demographic, making it cable's biggest premiere ever in that demo — the only audience advertisers really care about. The total audience was 6.9 million people, which undoubtedly has Vince Gilligan and crew feeling pretty good today. But in large part, Better Call Saul has zombies to thank for its stellar debut.

The Walking Dead's midseason return drew a massive audience of 15.6 million viewers at 9PM, giving Saul a tremendously strong lead-in. AMC says Walking Dead's showing makes this episode "the biggest regularly-scheduled program of 2015" so far, which doesn't include the Super Bowl, award shows, and other special events. It's a huge number, but wasn't enough to match the show's previous ratings records. Even so, many of those people — still taking in the shocking and emotional episode — likely kept watching as AMC moved into the black-and-white introduction to Better Call Saul.

We'll get a much better idea of how large Better Call Saul's own audience is when episode two airs tonight at 10PM ET. The series premiere earned rave reviews across the board, so the buzz is certainly there to carry the show forward through another big night. And if you witnessed the premiere's cliffhanger, we doubt you'll be missing tonight's follow-up.