AMC aired the long-awaited fifth-season premiere of “Mad Men” Sunday night, pulling in record numbers of viewers, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The two-hour premiere averaged 3.5 million viewers — 600,000 more than the show’s previous high of 2.9 million for its fourth-season premiere — an increase of 21%, the report notes.
The turnout in viewers 18-49 was 1.6 million, up 30%; in viewers 25-54 the telecast improved 17% to 1.7 million.
In a press release, AMC President Charlie Collier said: "’Mad Men; set the bar high, and we are incredibly proud that it continues to engage audiences looking for unexpected, unconventional and uncompromising television. For each of the five ‘Mad Men’ seasons, Matthew Weiner and his team have crafted a beautifully told story, and each season a larger audience has responded — a rare accomplishment. We couldn’t be more proud of this program, the brilliant writers, cast and crew, and the entire team on each side of the camera."
For the show’s 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. broadcasts combined, total viewers climbed to 4.4 million.
The report adds: “Despite four consecutive Emmys for best drama and no shortage of media interest, ‘Mad Men’ appeared as something of an underperformer compared with other AMC series that have thrived during its long hiatus. ‘The Walking Dead,’ which debuted just after the last episode of ‘Mad Men,’ recently topped another record, bringing in 9 million viewers for its season-two finale — 6 million of which were in the coveted adults 18-49 set, giving it a 4.7 demo rating. In the time since ‘Mad Men’ was last on the air, even ‘Breaking Bad’ eclipsed its adults 18-49 showing, earning 1.8 million in its 2011 season finale.”