Mad Men Ratings Shock: Final Season Premiere Lowest-Rated Opener Since 2008

madmen_ratings_325Mad Men appears to be going out with more of a whimper than a bang.

Sunday’s Season 7 premiere attracted a disappointing 2.3 million viewers, down roughly 30 percent from the Season 6 opener (3.4 million) to rank as the show’s lowest-rated debut since Season 2 in 2008.

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Mirroring a strategy AMC employed with Breaking Bad, Mad Men’s 14-episode final season will air in two separate seven-episode halves.

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62 Comments
  1. There is major competition on Sunday nights. I’ll bet an awful lot more watch it on time delay.

  2. Matt says:

    I meant to marathon season 6 prior to this premier. I’ve honestly forgot what happened because of time. It’s just been too long.

    • N tTVf says:

      I know what you mean, I did a quick ‘marathon’ last night/Sunday night from 7-10 pm via my Season 6 DVD, so I sort of caught up with where the series ended last spring’13. I watched ‘For Immediate Release’, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ (my favorite of S6), and ‘In Care Of’. I thought those three would give me a pretty good recap of the Jaguar-Detroit/GM storyline, the merger, trip to LA/Sunkist, and the S6 finale and where the story lines left off.

      I don’t know if AMC did their own MM marathon over the past week? I know they have in the past, but not certain if they did this year. That AMC marathon would have helped get fans back into the story line.

      It is hard for a seven year old series to keep the momentum going. MM did get on the cover of Time magazine last week, and got a nice write up in Rolling Stone. But I remember a couple of years ago when MM was on the cover of TV Guide, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek, etc. Those halcyon days for MM are probably in the rear view mirror now.

  3. Meredith says:

    I have to wonder if this split final season decision alienated some fans…

    • Tarasa says:

      I seriously thought of not watching this “half” of season and then waiting to catch up for next year. This is a stupid decision – it’s not in the best interest of the story or for viewers. Simply a business decision to make more money and I hate the overly obvious intersection of commerce and art. It’s a turn-off.

      • Butters says:

        i agree

      • TV Gord says:

        That seems logical to me. I’m a rabid fan, so I watch every episode right away, but I can see a lot of people choosing to sit out this half of the final season, because it wouldn’t take long to catch up for the final final half.

    • Joe says:

      Breaking Bad split it’s final season and it didn’t alienate any of the fans.

      • kitty says:

        Breaking bad was the first time they did it and it didn’t necessarily have the same fans A lot of people object o a season being called the last season when it’s going to be shown over 2 years, because it’s NOT the last season is it?

        • D'Arcy says:

          Breaking Bad deserved to have the final two seasons. When it was announced, people were more thinking along the lines of: “Wow there are only this many episodes left…”

          When Mad Men announced it, everyone thought: “Wow we don’t need that many, can you just make a final season and end it properly?”

      • A.B. says:

        You got a lot more story per episode of Breaking Bad than you do in Mad Men. Mad Men is slow. My husband and I DVR the show and we may not watch this half until next year when the second half airs.

    • Jane says:

      It worked for Breaking Bad because it was actually an exciting show where you couldn’t wait to see what happened and the anticipation added to the thrill. With Mad Men, I’m at the, I’ve watched it this long so I guess I’ll watch it to the end, but I’m really ticked about the way they are dragging it out. I recorded it and will try and to watch it before next Sunday but if not they can just pile up until I get around to it since I know how they are stretching it out.

    • jouiie says:

      Yep, this isnt Breaking Bad AMC…

    • This is 100% the reason I’m not watching MM this year. I’ll watch 7a on Netflix before the real final season starts.

      The line must be drawn here.

  4. Bethany says:

    I was not even aware if premiered last night.

  5. guy says:

    Did people finally realize what a huge snoozefest this show is?

  6. Fox says:

    Looks like we have another victim of the Purple Wedding. Valar Morghulis Don.

  7. Dani says:

    It’s just very tiring to watch Don still being married to Megan for whatever reason. The show lost a lot of it’s appeal IMO. I know many people who were just fed up over the fact that Betty, Joan and Peggy became secondary characters next to the new Mrs. Draper. Maybe that’s just why they decided to not watch this season anymore.
    I only watch because I followed the last six seasons. Otherwise I probably would have quit the show too.

    • april-ann says:

      Totally agree. I can’t believe she’s still there and it has made me lose what little interest I had left in this.

    • Cheeky says:

      This^
      I didn’t want to be a Megan hater, but they keep giving her so much story and she’s so dull! The first four seasons were great, season five not bad, six was horrible and I half expect seven to kind of limp off with the exception of the last few episodes at the end of next year.

  8. GuessWhat says:

    not shocking to me.
    these split seasons and long wait in between seasons have gotten really annoying.
    here’s hoping networks wise up.

  9. Tanya says:

    This show has just become a shell of its former self. It’s so repetitive and boring now. Season 4, especially “the suitcase” was the show’s peak.

  10. Ralph Hartman says:

    I don’t think AMC splitting the final season up in 2 halves had anything to do with money. If they aired all 14 episodes of Mad Men this year the final seasons of both Breaking Bad and Mad Men would be against each other at all the award shows and AMC probably wants to win Best Drama one last time for each series.

  11. Missy Kelly says:

    I counted how many hours of TV I record on Sunday night and between 8 & 11PM, there are 10 hours that I record. Recorded Mad Men, Turn, & Drop Dead Diva in the middle of the night. I believe that DVR #s will translate into a whole lot more viewers.

  12. IMHO says:

    I’m not suprised by the numbers at all.
    I only want to see how it ends after 6 years so I may watch now or wait until the final 8 episodes air.
    Mad Men is NO BREAKING BAD !
    Trying to drag it out for 2 years by breaking one season into 2 with 8 episodes each is not going to increase viewership.

    • Pat D. says:

      Breaking Bad is one of those rare shows that kept getting better and better as it ended. Most series tend to have their absolute peak midway through their run, IMHO.

      I found the first couple of seasons of BB incredibly dull. Season 3 picked up, and after that, Gus Fring’s season really hit it out of the park. And arguably the greatest single episode of the series “Ozymandias” happened in its absolute final season (2nd half of Season 5).

  13. militantgod says:

    Mad Men has never been a huge ratings success and it’s not the type of show to suddenly gain a huge new volume of viewers as Breaking Bad did.

  14. Tracey says:

    Everyone was watching Game of Thrones.

  15. Scott says:

    What are they going to do – cancel it? Or not play the last few episodes that were filmed months ago? Of course not. I’m sure the audience will get around to watching it but when it suits them. For me anyway I’m not going to watch half a series and then wait.

  16. leo21 says:

    Last season was a chore. And Sunday is when all the broadcast networks bring their A game. It’s a lot to ask folks to DVR their regular shows in favor of Mad Men so close to the season finales. It doesn’t help that last season was such an endurance test that didn’t pay off big enough IMO.

  17. For me it is just a why not wait since this season is going to be a TWO YEAR LONG SEASON. So there really isn’t a reason to tune in now except from a spoiler perspective but then again since I am occasionally West Coast Based I am usually spoiled while the show is happening.

  18. ryan says:

    Mad Men never feels slow to me because I loved the whole 60s vibe it puts off. But I hate that they split the season. Glad that it’s already done so ratings don’t really matter because they aren’t doing another season anyway!

  19. Eric7740 says:

    Technically wouldn’t next spring be the “final” season premiere, even AMC didn’t announce it as the Final Season Premiere, AMC didn’t even announce anything, it just started the show.

  20. cjeffery7 says:

    one season split over two years – by that math you might as well call the entire series one REEEAAAAALLY long season split over 8 years.

  21. herman1959 says:

    I’m not surprised about the low ratings either. They are a direct result of splitting the final season into two. Evidently, AMC didn’t realize that:(1) there are so many great shows on now as compared to 2008;( 2) viewers have been gradually losing interest due to the long break between seasons similar to that for The Sopranos and certain plot developments (for me, Joan sleeping with the Jaguar dealer); and (3) the fact the show’s time frame has moved beyond the very early 60s period that was so fresh and interesting and hopeful.

    What we have now is the start of the 70′s with increasing crime, inflation, civil unrest, and the deaths of JFK, MLK, and Bobby Kennedy. Add to that a list of characters that are, at this point, jaded, disaffected, wash-up and tired. The show itself is a little tired and, in my opinion, only had enough juice for one more season. I was feeling like I could take it or leave it but decided to watch specifically because this was SUPPOSED to be the last season and for a sense of closure. We now have to wait TWO SEASONS for a sense of closure – never mind!

    I’m a Netflix baby, something that didn’t exist in 2008, and love a good binge-watch ( all episodes of Season 2 House of Cards over 3 days). Therefore, I’m with earlier posters considering waiting and watching the two halves together. I also agree that money was a factor in the split – AMC and Mr. Weiner always wanted more and now they are paying for it.

    • herman1959 says:

      Sorry, I meant this post to be 3 separate paragraphs!

    • tara17 says:

      I agree with your post, including how last season felt washed-up and tired. The actors didn’t seem into it. Show hasn’t been the same since Don’s new wife, what a downer…

  22. JAO says:

    I need to catch it on repeat. I didn’t realize it was back! Sunday is very full.

  23. Francie says:

    I think Matthew Weiner’s maniacal protection of minute details turns off TV writers and therefore stops media hype of the new season. The list was apparently longer than ever this year on details that were embargoed and included mundane things like the year the season picked up in.

    Like it or not, articles about the series are free advertising and if you are annoying the writers, you lose the articles, the social sharing and the build up of hype.

  24. Sharia says:

    *hey Jane.Totally agree!* I’m pretty much watching because I’ve watched all of the seasons. I have to admit I saved it to watch today, um bad plan didn’t get to it watched the Voice instead. But last season ending was so good & what I read tht wasn’t really touched. Sigh. Disappointment. But still waiting.

  25. David Anderson says:

    No one wants a 7 episode season. It is so stupid! We’ll catch these episodes next year before the final seven episodes. THAT IS, IF WE CARE.

  26. drhenning says:

    I am watching but I can other people I know will watch later On Demand… I also agree that Breaking Bad had far more intensity and story than MM..

  27. bobbie says:

    not enough Peggy, and where is Sally and Betty?

  28. Brian says:

    Honestly, I bought a season pass on iTunes a month ago. There is so much good TV on Sunday right now. I love Mad Men, but there is also Call the Midwife , the good wife, Mr. Selfridge, Game of Thrones, etc etc… All awesome and unique shows. So Mad Men will be enjoyed on iTunes.

  29. anna says:

    Mad Men has never got big ratings and the only ones left watching are the true believers. It was so stupid of AMC to split the season. And the premiere was boring, just like most of season six was. It’s Weiner’s fault for making Megan the focus of the show.

  30. GG says:

    I am a huge Mad Men Fan. Therefore I am happy that I get two more seasons

    I did not want the show to end so like any good meal, I am appreciative that I am given time to savor every bite