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'Mad Men' Return Draws 2.8 Million Viewers

AMC drama Mad Men started off season three Sunday night with an audience of 2.8 million viewers, a 34% gain over the season two kickoff, the Rainbow Media network said.

Counting in 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. repeats, AMC said the count was about 4 million viewers, a 25% rise from the season two premiere, according to Nielsen Media Research live plus same day Fast Nationals.

From AMC's release, a look at the numbers:

Last night's season three premiere of Mad Men scored a 3.1 HH rating with almost 4 million viewers live same day (Nielsen live plus same day Fast Nationals gross audience).

The 10 p.m. airing drew a 2.1 HH rating with 2.8 million total viewers, increasing its audience over 34% from over season two's premiere episode (1.7 HH rating, 2.1 million total viewers; 10 p.m. premiere telecast 7/27/2008).

Versus season two average for 10 p.m. premieres, the season three 10 p.m. premiere shot up 84% in total viewers (2.8 million vs. 1.5 million).

Last night's premiere also delivered significant double digit increases across all demos compared to season two, highlights include Adult 25-54 for an increase of 37% (1.4 million vs. 1 million) and Men 25-54 for an increase of 45% (658K verses 352K).

Mad Men posted historic gains online, generating more than 1.5 million page views on premiere day, a 273% increase over season two premiere, and 700,000 Mad Men Yourself avatar downloads.

As of Aug. 17, Mad Men seasons one, two, and three dominate the top positions on the iTunes chart, with Season 3 premiere episode the top episode for sale, and the entire Season 3 the top season for sale.

In its first two seasons, Mad Men was the most upscale show on cable television, with half of Adult 25-54 viewers earning HH incomes over $100,000.

Mad Men recently received 16 Emmy nominations, the most for any drama series. Lionsgate produces the series in association with AMC.