April 8, 2013

THE SKED CABLE NEWS: “Mad Men” Premieres Slightly Down, “Bates Motel” Books Another Season


Six seasons in, it’s probably safe to say that the people who watch MAD MEN are the people who watch Mad Men, and the ratings for last night’s Season 6 premiere were by and large very steady with last year’s launch.  Total viewership was at 3.4M, down a bit from 3.54M last year, while the 25-54 demo (a key one for the show, which doesn’t skew young) was even with 2012 at 1.7M.  18-49 viewership slipped, from 1.2 in the demo last year to 1.0-1.1 last night.  In terms of year-to-year comparisons, it’s only fair to note that the Season 5 premiere didn’t air head-to-head against Game of Thrones, as this year’s did, and also that every year the proportion of the total audience viewing via DVR increases, so these slight dips could well be made up when all platforms are added in.  However, it’s also true that this is the first Mad Men premiere not to top the preceding one.  (All these numbers, incidentally, are above the ratings for Season 5 as a whole and for its finale, but that’s because Mad Men fell after its premiere last season, which is likely to happen again next week.)  One other number worth noting:  according to AMC, 49% of those 1.7M 25-54 viewers have household incomes of $100K+.  Advertisers pay significant premiums for audiences with that kind of upscale concentration, which is why Mad Men, even though its ratings are a mere shadow of Walking Dead‘s, still has value for the network.

Meanwhile, today A&E announced a Season 2 renewal for BATES MOTEL, which has done quite nicely for the network with a 1.2 last week in the demo (although that’s roughly one-third of its powerhouse Duck Dynasty) as its edgiest, most ambitious scripted series to date.  At the very least, it’s good to know Vera Farmiga will have a steady paycheck next year to supplement her admirable work in low-budget indie films.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."