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October 27, 2008

'Mad Men' finale higher than last year

Some are buzzing about this NY Times story on "Mad Men," taking the show to task for its sluggish second season. It's a deserved criticism. I've never seen a show that indulged in so many shots of characters going to bed and waking up -- not to mention Betty smoking and staring into space. I've taken to calling the show "Sad Men."

Still, the  finale was creatively very strong and did better in the ratings this year than last (though the numbers have fallen considerable since the second season premiere).

Here's THR's Kimberly Nordyke with the ratings:

Sunday's finale averaged 1.75 million total viewers at 10 p.m. Sunday, which was 89% higher than the tally for the drama's first-season finale (926,000) a year ago. Over three airings (10 p.m., 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.), the episode pulled in a total of 2.9 million viewers.

Compared with Season 1, "Mad Men's" sophomore run saw a 63% increase in total viewers (an average of 1.5 million viewers vs. 925,000), a 109% jump in the adults 18-49 demo (705,000 vs. 338,000) and an 81% increase in adults 25-54 (780,000 vs. 430,000).

AMC also said that 49% of the adults 25-54 viewers that tuned in during Season 2 have household incomes above $100,000, giving the show the strongest concentration of upscale viewers in that demo than any other original scripted series on basic cable.

While still modestly rated, the series has generated a great deal of buzz and critical acclaim, including becoming the first basic cable program to win a major series category at the Primetime Emmys with its best drama trophy in September. While it has yet to be renewed for a third season as series producer Lionsgate negotiates a new deal with creator/executive producer Matthew Weiner, all parties expect a pickup.

This weekend was a busy one for the "Mad Men" contingent: Along with the season finale, star Jon Hamm hosted NBC's "Saturday Night Live," and his co-stars Elisabeth Moss and John Slattery made special appearances during the late-night sketch-comedy show.

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