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August 31, 2015

Mad Men debuts huge, but almost gets beat by a couple of Kardashians

by Jason Hughes, posted Aug 18th 2009 5:09PM
Mad Men (top) / Kourtney & Khloe Take MiamiSometimes ratings can paint such interesting portraits of the American audience. Mad Men set a series high and ranked as the top show on cable Sunday with its third season premiere. And yet, its victory on the night was only 0.1 million viewers over the premiere of E!s Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami.

Those K&K numbers make it the new highest premiere on E! since The Anna Nicole Show premiered. A record briefly held by Kendra's premiere earlier this summer.

So one the one hand we have one of the most deservedly acclaimed television shows of the past decade, and right there with it, running neck and neck, is yet another reality spin-off featuring rich people who are only famous because ... they're famous. I blame Paris Hilton. She was one of the first people who got famous for doing absolutely nothing.

Two entirely different shows premiering on the same night to startlingly similar numbers doesn't really mean much. Especially when you consider that we're still talking numbers below three million for each, though over multiple viewings on the night Mad Men hit four. It is interesting to note that with both Kendra and K&K, the spin-offs have done much better than the parent show. Somewhere, Kim Kardashian is pissed since she started this whole thing for her family.

I will take this whole situation to say that it proves two things. Nurturing and supporting a niche show like Mad Men can be worth it. It's grown its audience every year since it premiered. Quality will find an audience if that audience has faith that you will stick with them. At least on cable. I think viewers have more hope that a cable network will stand by their favorite shows than the trigger-happy broadcast networks.

The other thing it shows us is that we still love being voyeurs, and that this docu-soap reality format isn't going away anytime soon. Someday there will be a saying that everybody knows someone who has a camera crew following them around 24/7 filming everything they do.

They probably do already in LA.

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Quantity is not necessarily an indicator of quality.

Mad Men is brilliant, but it's lost some of its luster. If I had to pick between the two, I'd take AMC's other masterpiece, Breaking Bad.

August 19 2009 at 11:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just weighing in to defend MM...everyone is entitled to an opinion but MM is not now nor has it ever been mediocre. It is a complex multi-layered gem that begs multiple viewings.

August 19 2009 at 7:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

2.8 million is a hit? On a basic cable channel? I tried to sit through the borefest on sunday and couldn't. The 60's much like the 50's are dead, come up with some new material.

August 19 2009 at 1:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Mad Men's acclaim is questionable, IMHO. Wholly mediocre show with good art direction/set design. Season 1 was a chore to sit through.

Still better than the Kardashians but I'd rather watch my soup cool than sit through either one again.

August 18 2009 at 11:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to YouFaceTheTick's comment

I thought season 2 was pretty boring... season 1 was much more entertaining.

I am hoping more happens during season 3 because as much as I am willing to watch it for its acting and art direction/design, I agree...

August 19 2009 at 4:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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