12:49pm PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: 'Mad Men' Returns Steady With 3.4 Million Viewers
Kicking off its sixth season on Sunday night with a two-hour episode, the Matthew Weiner drama averaged 3.4 million viewers. That's just 100,000 viewers shy the 2012 opener which brought in a then record of 3.5 million viewers.
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Though its ratings are still dwarfed by network neighbor and cable champ The Walking Dead, Mad Men has shown steady growth since first premiering in 2007. Among the targeted demographics, Mad Men averaged 1.4 million viewers 18-49 and 1.7 million viewers 25-54, even with the older set but down 200,000 in younger viewers.
Though it did have the disadvantage of going against HBO's Game of Thrones, most broadcast offerings were in encores (CBS' ACM Awards and NBC's Celebrity Apprentice being the only exceptions).
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Mad Men was up double digits in its fifth season. After an usually long delay after the fourth season, the 2012 run averaged 2.6 million viewers and 1.1 million adults 18-49, increases of respective 15 and 17 percent. The series also grows an average 1.2 million viewers in Live+3 Day DVR returns.
Created by Weiner and starring Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men swept the best drama category at the Primetime Emmy Awards four four years running. It was supplanted in 2012 by Showtime's Homeland.