Mad Men returns tonight after nearly a year and a half hiatus with its two-hour season five premiere. Mad Men’s season four premiere (in the summer of 2010) set highs in viewers with 2.918 million but only managed a 0.9 adults 18-49 rating. But that was in the days before The Walking Dead had launched drawing more viewers to the network. Since then Breaking Bad has eclipsed the 1.0 adults 18-49 barrier and I’m guessing that Mad Men will finally do that tonight as well as setting new highs with viewers.

Some have derided AMC’s promotional attempts to liken the Mad Men to zombies in hopes of attracting viewers from The Walking Dead. I found those ads pretty funny and while I don’t think there’s any big crossover between fans of the two shows, if only a tiny percentage of The Walking Dead crowd decide to check it out, it could make a big difference.

Also there’s the potential for the Netflix effect. Mad Men has been available on Netflix for months giving some folks more than ample time to plow through the first four seasons and catch up. A few of them might now decide to make Mad Men appointment viewing.

My guess is a 1.3 adults 18-49 rating and 3.6 million total viewers. No poll, but feel free to post your own guesses in the comments.

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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