Hallmark Channel last week revealed that the season seven premiere of its long-running drama When Calls the Heart earned the highest ratings for any season premiere episode of the show since it began in 2014. That kind of growth on basic cable is not completely out of the ordinary for comedy programs, but it is very rare for dramas, especially those that have been telecast for so many years. AMC’s modern-day classic Breaking Bad is a notable exception, but a comparison would not be valid, because Bad ran for five seasons only -- less actually, with its fourth and final season split in half to manufacture a fifth. And although ratings for this series were awfully bad early on, Bad was boosted closer to the end of its run by exposure on Netflix, which at the time was growing exponentially day by day.
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