The most critically acclaimed series on television is beginning to find an audience commensurate with the scope of its ambitions.
The season-three premiere of AMC’s original drama Mad Men drew 2.76 million viewers Sunday night at 10 p.m., notching the series’ all-time largest delivery, and outperforming last season’s opener by 33 percent.
According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings data, the one-hour premiere (“Out of Town”) bettered the 13-episode season-two arc, which averaged 1.52 million viewers, by 82 percent.
Among the core demos, Mad Men served up 1.43 million adults 25-54, an increase of 83 percent versus the show’s sophomore year average (780,000), while delivering 1.24 million viewers 18-49, a 76 percent improvement over last year’s 705,000.
When factoring in AMC’s cumulative run, which includes the premiere and repeats at 11 p.m. and 1 a.m., the season opener drew nearly 4 million total viewers.
Created by executive producer Matthew Weiner, Mad Men is the first series on basic cable to win the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series. In 2008 and 2009, the show also took home the Golden Globe for Best Television Series Drama; last season, Jon Hamm won the Globe for best actor, in recognition of his portrayal of Sterling Cooper creative director Don Draper.