3.5 million watch season five premiere in first telecast

The boys at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce got off to a record-breaking ratings start Sunday night.

After being off the air since October 2010, AMC drama “Mad Men” drew 3.5 million in its fifth-season premiere, according to Nielsen. The two-hour episode is the most-watched in series history.

In key demos, the premiere garnered 1.6 million adults 18-49 and 1.7 million adults 25-54. Both are double-digit increases vs. the show’s fourth-season premiere.

Last season, “Mad Men” averaged 2.3 million total viewers and 966,00 in the 18-49 demo. The premiere was the highest-rated episode of season four: 2.9 million total viewers and 1.2 million in the demo.

An additional 900,000 viewers watched the 11 p.m. repeat telecast Sunday, meaning the show drew a total of 4.4 million viewers.

” ‘Mad Men’ set the bar high and we are incredibly proud that it continues to engage audiences looking for unexpected, unconventional and uncompromising television,” said AMC president Charlie Collier.

Series, which has won the Emmy for top drama series for four consecutive years, stars Jon Hamm, January Jones, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, Christina Hendricks and John Slattery.

“Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner exec produces the Lionsgate series with Scott Hornbacher and Andre and Maria Jacquemetton.

“Mad Men” had been in the headlines plenty of times in the 18 months between seasons. Weiner’s deal was up and, after long and often arduous negotiations with both AMC and Lionsgate, he reupped to continue the show through its seventh season.

Also of note: The single “Zou Bisou Bisou,” sung by actress Jessica Pare in last night’s episode, is currently available on iTunes. Song was originally recorded in 1961 by British actress and pop star Gillian Hills.

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