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'Mad Men' audience grows, but Don Draper would be disappointed


About 2.9 million people tuned into to the premiere of season four of AMC's "Mad Men" on Sunday night to see Don Draper struggle to answer the question "Who is Don Draper?"

Although that number is a record for an episode of "Mad Men," it is an increase of only about 130,000 viewers from the Season 3 debut. Given the heavy hype for the show, that seems a little soft. However, "Mad Men" also picks up a lot of viewers who record the series and watch it later, so a clearer picture of its audience size won't emerge from Nielsen until later in the week. 

The numbers, while lesser than AMC might have hoped, are still strong enough to become fodder for negotiations between the cable network and Lions Gate, which produces the show. The current deal for "Mad Men" is up at the end of next season, but Lions Gate wants to wrap up an extension sooner rather than later, according to Variety.

One reason Lions Gate wants AMC to pony up big bucks for "Mad Men" now is that its own deal with creator Matt Weiner expires at the end of this season, per Variety. If that seems unusual, that's because it is unusual. Typically, a showrunner such as Weiner would be attached to the program for five seasons. However, it appears Weiner had a much shorter deal, which will give him a lot of leverage with Lions Gate.

As for who Don Draper is? Apparently he's someone who likes to be slapped around by escorts and knows how to sew a button.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: "Mad Men" stars Jon Hamm as advertising ace Don Draper. Credit: AMC

Comments () | Archives (9)

Hmm. Almost as much as the big FOX "News" shows get. For a show that is actually literature of a high kind. Not bad.

The spectacle of the cast appearing on the chat shows is weird. Sure, they're likable. But every time John Hamm appears, the show gets less important. "You mean, Don Draper isn't real?"

And on my set, AT&T has done a truly crappy job of transmitting the signal. On a standard def channel, the only AMC in U-verse, the picture is muddy and compressed. The same scene bought on iTunes is gorgeous. "Oh, Don's apartment is dark... like his life." On U-verse, you look and say, "Who's that? And what's that ball of brown in the center of the room? Oh, a chair."

I love this show, but I'm not watching in standard definition. Apparently Rainbow Media is playing hardball with the satellite companies & this is the result.

I'd rather wait 9 months & catch it on Blu-Ray than watch it with terrible picture quality.

Sadly this show has slowly degenerated into a puff piece about boozers, womenizers and backstabbers. Started out interesting and like so many series productions, fell apart after the first season. It has become predictable and not particularly interesting. It will be cancelled at the end of this season, and rightly so. I, for one, am sick of the endless cigarettes burning and the incessant alcohol. I know that was the thing of that era, but I think it is disgusting anyway. Should have a warning at the start of each episode stating that many of the people of that era died of lung cancer and liver cirosis.

I KNOW I am the only person in the world that thinks this ... but I watched this on DVD for the first Season. Very well acted ... and BORING as hell. I really couldn't stand the series.

Scytherius you are not alone! I have tried repeatedly to like this show. It is very well put together but unfortunately it IS very boring. Like watching grass grow or paint dry...

Yawn. That guy was much better in "The Division".

The production still heading this story expresses, in its Vermeer-like image, the immense quality and perfection of detail in 'Mad Men'.

Television has never been done better.

Thought the opener was stunning. The best show on TV (slightly after Breaking BAd).. Not boring unless you only love CSI

I'm a real ad man, and I love this show so much I entered the contest to be on it, and then started writing a blog about it! Check out my blog, and give me some ideas: http://www.madmenmakingchange.com

Or, if you like my entry, vote for me:


Also, check out my story in the press recently: http://bit.ly/MadMenPress


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