‘Mad Men’ scores record ratings in the US

The ad agency drama has never scored ratings to match its acclaim

The new series of Mad Men scored its highest ever ratings on its launch in the US.

The two-hour premiere of the advertising period drama scored 3.5 million viewers for AMC. The numbers marked a 21% increase from the previous high from the premiere of the fourth series, according to BBC News.

Fans had endured a 17-month wait for new episodes after the new run was delayed due to lengthy contract negotiations with creator Matthew Weiner. The series debuts in the UK tonight (March 27) on Sky Atlantic.

But the record ratings will be a triumph for the show which has never enjoyed ratings that matched up to its critical acclaim. Jon Hamm, who plays Don Draper, recently told DigitalSpy.co.uk of the situation: “The funny thing that exists now – and I have only a rudimentary understanding of this… I am but an actor – is that television is consumed, and entertainment is consumed, is that ratings aren’t the driving force they once were from a monetisation standpoint. There are so many other revenue streams that can get a television programme made.

“Whether that is international sales, iTunes, pre-sold syndication, on-demand downloads. It’s so weird. You can literally watch the whole of a television show on your phone now. That wasn’t the case when we started making this show five years ago. The rating is one piece of a very fragmented pie and I don’t know how important it is anymore. I think it exists as a benchmark, but I really don’t know.”