Barring Disaster, Mad Men Will See a Season 3

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August 5th, 2008

And by a disaster, I mean either there are no other shows being broadcast anywhere else either, kind of disaster. Or it's somehow proved that Mad Men causes cancer and liver failure just by watching all the drinking and smoking.  Outside of that, it seems like a sure thing for next year.

After this one, I'll try to refrain from every other post seeming to be about this show! But I felt it important given the focus I'd given it lately to make some clarification around the ratings themselves. I don't believe they are a hugely critical factor in terms of there being a season 3.

While sometimes on this site there is some obsessing over the ratings numbers out of fear that a show will be cancelled -- and sometimes they actually are --  that isn't the case with Mad Men this season. I've obsessed on the ratings only for two reasons: I love the show, and this is a site about TV metrics which largely focuses on the ratings.  I'm not sweating whether Mad Men will be renewed.

I was going to title this post Mad Men is to AMC as 30 Rock is to NBC, but that's not exactly right.  30 Rock doesn't seem to have nearly the buzz Mad Men has even though many more people watch it.  But compared to other broadcast network shows, 30 Rocks' ratings often seem anemic. It's another show I enjoy very much that's not a ratings superstar.

But like Mad Men, 30 Rock draws a lot of critical praise and what it lacks in absolute ratings it makes up for somewhat in terms of the percentage of viewers who watch the show that are in the 18-49 age demographic, and the percentage of viewers who have high income.  As noted earlier, 40% of Mad Men's viewership for the recent episode had annual household income over $100,000.  Advertisers, especially of BMW's ilk, really like that demographic.

Plus 30 Rock makes the executives at NBC feel good about themselves.  It is critically acclaimed and an insider-y show.  Network executives like to feel good just like everyone else.  Mad Men is no doubt making the executives at AMC feel good.  The ratings would have to tank incredibly before the feel-good halo the show brings AMC would fall off.

This site's obsession over the ratings is more obsessing about ratings because it's just what we do than about obsessing over them as it pertains to whether the show will be renewed or cancelled.

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