Season Five of 'Mad Men' Has Most Watched Season Finale in Series History

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June 11th, 2012

via press release:








New York, NY – June 11, 2012 –Last night, AMC concluded season five of “Mad Men,” which resulted in the most watched season to date with an average of 2.6 million viewers increasing 15% over last season’s average. Last night’s finale marks the highest finale in the series history with a 2.0 HH rating and 2.7 million viewers. Among the core demo of Adults 25-54, “Mad Men” delivered 1.4 million  viewers marking an increase of +13% versus the season four finale. “Mad Men” is a top 3 original drama series each week among Adults 25-54 on basic cable.


"Matthew Weiner and his remarkable team have again delivered a season of television beyond compare.  We couldn't be more proud of this program and the brilliant writers, cast and crew that bring it to life,” said Charlie Collier, AMC’s president.  “As in each season prior, season five is now ‘Mad Men's’ most-watched season, an uncommon television growth record and a testament to the ongoing quality and uniqueness of this rare property.  I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that the record live-same-day Nielsen ratings that gain so much attention are only a small part of the ‘Mad Men’ success story. Congratulations to the entire ‘Mad Men’ team on another terrific season.”


"We make 'Mad Men' for the fans.  My goal is to tell a compelling story and entertain people and it thrills me that people keep watching,” said Matthew Weiner, creator and executive producer.


Key Nielsen Highlights for “Mad Men’s” season five:


  • “Mad Men” is amongst the most engaging drama series on basic cable, providing the highest percent of live 7 to live viewing gains among Adults 25-54.*
  • “Mad Men” adds an average of 1.9 million additional viewers within live plus 3 to live and an additional 2.3 million viewers within live plus 7 to live.  “Mad Men” averaged 4.2 million live plus 7 total viewers increasing 121% vs. live.
  • The series continues to be cable's most upscale drama series with 49% of its Adult 25-54 audience maintaining a household income of $100K+.***
  • On iTunes season five currently reigns in the top five for cable dramas.
  • On Netflix, the first episode of the first season is the series most watched episode.


Source: *11/12 Season to Date.  Live 7 to Live A25-54 viewership among basic cable drama series. ** Mad Men Season 5 (3/25/12-6/10/12).  *** Live + Same Day. % composition of A25-54 HHI $100K+ of Mad Men Season 5 compared to all other basic cable original drama series from 1Q11 to date.  Premiere episodes.


Key Nielsen Highlights for “Mad Men’s” season five finale:


  • 10pm airing: 2.0 HH rating with 2.7 million viewers: +9%/+11% vs. season 4 finale
  • 10pm airing: 1.4 million Adults 25-54: +13% vs. season 4 finale
  • 10pm airing: 1.2 million Adults 18-49:  +11% vs. season 4 finale


Source: The Nielsen Company.  Live + SD.  6/10/12 vs S4 finale 10/17/10.


Key Nielsen Highlights for “Mad Men’s” full season five:


  • 1.9 HH rating with 2.6 million viewers: +10%/+15% vs. season 4 average
  • 1.3 million viewers - Adults 25-54: +10% vs. season 4 average
  • 1.1 million viewers - Adults 18-49:  +17% vs. season 4 average


Source: Source: The Nielsen Company.  Live + SD.  S5 3/25-6/10/12 vs S4 7/25-10/17/10.


Created by Emmy® and Golden Globe® winner Matthew Weiner and produced by Lionsgate, “Mad Men” made history last September as the first basic cable series ever to win the Emmy® for Outstanding Drama Series in four consecutive years. Set in 1960s New York, “Mad Men” is a sexy and provocative drama that follows the lives of the ruthlessly competitive men and women of Madison Avenue advertising. The season premiere episode is also available on

  • joss

    I am wondering how Breaking Bad will do

  • Andy

    To I LOVE THE FARM, this show is far from a POS! It’s one of the most engaging shows I have seen in a while! I did not start watching it until season 5 but caught up on the whole story from the beginning watching all the previous 4 seasons on Netflix.

  • charles olimpio

    Far and away the best tv show in history and nothing even close to it.
    Mind boggling acting,writing,directing.I will count the days until season 6.
    In a country with the highest illiteracy rate in the civilized world for a show of this quality to get this high a rating is an anomoly.
    Let the naysayers watch their vampire movies and dumb down even further.

  • Rob R

    One of the best shows in the history of television.

    The haters can’t change that one twit.

    Guaranteed two more seasons.

  • scfyi

    How is this show still on the air, with such a low demo and high costs?

  • joel

    It used to be the best show on television, but it isn’t anymore. Recognizing that reality doesn’t make someone a hater. Dexter also has fallen a bit from it’s peak. The current champion would have to be Breaking Bad.

  • oneeye

    wow was not excepting it go up so much, nice!

  • Swaniecat

    I have been an avid Mad Men fan pretty much since the season started but I have to confess, this season was, by far, the weakest.

    Who didn’t expect Joan’s marriage to end–even at the end of last season? And while Peggy moving on to another agency showed some character development, it really wasn’t “earth shattering” considering the way her career at SCDP had been stagnating for past few seasons. The only exceptional plot development in Betty’s world is that she packed on some pounds and is plagued by Henry’s hateful mother, who Sally also hates–seriously, wasn’t that subject ALSO broached last season, too?? The only ‘interesting’ development between Don and Megan is that we learned Megan wants to be an actress and her mother is a slut, albeit a sophisticated one—-so?? Yes, we had to say good-bye to Lane but again, that was a far-cry from a revelationary plot development.

    I was also very disappointed with the season finale. While major cliffhangers have never been really been the norm for Mad Men season finales, this latest was completely anticlimatic. From start to finish it was something of a yawner–hate to say it, but I felt like Peter did during the tedious partners’ meeting (that Joan chaired while sporting eye-glasses-I guess that qualifies as a something new)–“if this it, I have other things to do.”

  • Suzy

    Did you know that in Europe major stars are regarded for their body of work and one failure, or success, is not the be-all end-all of their careers?

    Why do I bring this up here and now?

    If you look at the last SEVERAL episodes of Mad Men, taken together, I feel quite strongly that this is the best show on television-cable or not. One episode by itself can be analyzed, of course, but it’s when you take the episodes together and look at the character arcs, the development of the plots, the changes throughout the season, that you realize just how good Mad Men was this year. Yes, I did not like the first few episodes as much as in previous years but as the season wore on it drew me in so much that I shut off my cell phone, said, “DO NOT BOTHER ME when Mad Men is on” and absolutely cannot wait for the next season…already!

  • groove365

    Epic season! This is still one of the best shows currently in production.

    Sometimes awards are nearly as important as ratings to a network, if you haven’t figured that out by now you should just accept that it’s true.

    I imagine the Blu-Ray/DVD and international sales make up for the mediocre ratings in the long run.
    That’s the thing about cable, the shows are monetized a little differently than broadcast so shows niche like this can survive rather than dying after one season NBC style.

  • Tom Mc

    I think it depends on what you want out of a season finale. The final episode of each season of Mad Men has often been more denouement than climax. I personally believe this is the best season finale yet, though each season finale has been stellar. This one was particularly satisfying for me because of the way all the strands of the season were woven together seamlessly for a tight hour that at times was better than any movie I’ve seen in years. Don finally admits to himself that Megan isn’t the ideal woman after all, leaving her behind in that bright moment, walking back into the darkness and into a bar, and the look he gave when asked by two lovely young women “are you alone?” Perfection. Peggy seeing the dogs outside her window in the cheap Virginia (not Paris) motel room, Pete gets what he wants (the apartment in the city) just when he realizes it won’t be enough, Megan realizing that her acting talents are meager at best, Roger seeking to regain his elusive enlightenment with LSD – everyone chasing their phantom ideas of happiness. Like the final chapter in a great novel, I found it to be well-written and *very* satisfying.

  • Zees

    I am a diehard fan of Mad Men. No matter what they show I always consider one episode better or not as good as the last. But I consider them all superior to other TV fare. All are creative, interesting, well directed and entertaining.

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