Figures. Just when CTV drops Mad Men, it becomes a hit.
The Emmy-, Golden Globe- and TCA-Award-winning AMC drama drew 2.76 million viewers for Sunday night's Season Three debut according to overnight Nielsen estimates. That's the highest U.S. number ever for a single episode and 33% higher than last season's AMC opener.
Last season's 13 episodes averaged 1.52 million same-day viewers. Adding in AMC's next hour reruns at 11 p.m. and 1 p.m., Mad Men drew over 4 million U.S. viewers.
In Canada, you had to watch it on AMC, if you get it (not all Canadian cable and satellite providers carry the channel) or on iTunes--or by using one of those end-around sneaky web thingies.
So how was the episode? Nobody deconstructs these things better than Tim Goodman over at his must read Bastard Machine blog. Read his Season Three, Episode One, Mad Men impressions here, complete with some perspective off the press tour from creator Matthew Weiner (as well as spoilers).
Have to say I wasn't as blown away by last night's opener as Goodman was (the terrific SNL Mad Men spoof, repeated Saturday, may be starting to starch my impression of Don Draper), but it was an intriguing start to the season, with plenty ahead as the series moves further into 1963.
OTHER WEEKEND NUMBERS: Good news for Shark Tank, which is building in the States. The ABC series, which features two of the venture capitalists from CBC's Dragon's Den, drew around 5.7 million U.S. viewers Sunday night, up 1.5 million week-to-week and winning its timeslot in households at 9:30.
Not so good news for Defying Gravity, which isn't in the U.S. The Canadian-made sci-fi series drew just 2.6 million on ABC last night, shedding too many at the half hour mark. It did much better, proportionally, Sunday night on CTV where 573,000 tuned in.
Sunday's big show this summer in Canada remains Big Brother on Global with 1,016,000 viewers.
CBC's plan to bury Iron Road in the dog days of summer worked to perfection. The China/Canada co-production drew just 484,000 for Part Two Sunday, with just 11,000 of those in the 25-54-year-old demo in the Toronto area.
That summer run of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is holding steady, drawing around 7.2 million ABC viewers Sunday. That's a sharp drop from when the show exploded in the summer of 1999, but surprisingly could rank it as a U.S. Top-20 number today. ABC programming boss Stephen McPherson teased critics on press tour that somebody gets to the million-dollar question before the show ends its summer run Aug. 23. Which night? You'll have to watch, said McPherson.
In Toronto, on Citytv, it is doing very well, pulling between 120,000 and 200,000 viewers a night last week, beating shows like Criminal Minds, The Teen Choice Awards and CSI: NY in households. Plus it is platforming Citytv's promising crop of imports for fall--final answer.