'Mad Men' Gets Ratings Bump

TelevisionEntertainmentMad Men (tv program)DefenseArmed ForcesAMC (tv network)Army Wives (tv program)

A big marketing push, a bucketful of Emmy nominations and an ocean of critical praise helped drive "Mad Men" to its biggest audience ever.

The second-season premiere of the much-lauded show drew 1.9 million viewers to AMC Sunday (July 27). While that's likely to pale in comparison to fellow Sunday-night cable series like "In Plain Sight" and "Army Wives," it's also the best showing ever for "Mad Men."

Last year's premiere drew 1.6 million viewers, but the show lost audience as the season wore on. It averaged 915,000 viewers per week for the season (not counting mulitple same-week repeats). What's more, about half of Sunday's audience fell in the adults 18-49 demographic, way above its first-season average.

AMC mounted a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign for the second season, and the show has gotten some free publicity as well by virtue of its 16 Emmy nominations -- including ones for best drama series and lead actor Jon Hamm -- and near-universal critical acclaim. The show also won three awards, including program of the year, from the Television Critics Association this month.

Numbers for USA's "In Plain Sight" and Lifetime's "Army Wives" weren't available as of Tuesday morning. They've been averaging about 4.7 million and 3.7 million viewers, respectively, over the past month.

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