TV

'Mad Men' Season 5 Premiere Ratings: Series High With 3.5 Million Viewers

03/26/2012 02:53 pm ET | Updated Mar 26, 2012

So much for the theory that TV viewers would forget all about "Mad Men" after the show's lengthy hiatus.

The critically-acclaimed ad drama's two-hour Season 5 premiere posted its strongest ratings ever on Sunday night, attracting 3.5 million viewers, a 41 percent increase over last season's premiere episode, according to AMC.

"Mad Men" has steadily built its audience over time. The Season 4 premiere brought in 2.9 million viewers, while Season 3 debuted to 2.8 million. The show's Season 2 premiere notched just over 2 million viewers.

While the numbers represent the strongest ratings showing in "Mad Men" history, they don't come close to matching those of AMC's biggest smash hit, zombie thriller "The Walking Dead," which became the network's highest-rated original broadcast ever by bringing in 9 million viewers for its Season 2 finale.

HuffPost TV critic Maureen Ryan revelled in getting to spend time with the show's cast of characters again. , "Sure, nothing cataclysmic happened in the season premiere ... But so what? Surely there are big events to come, and, as has happened in every other 'Mad Men' season premiere, no doubt things were set in motion that will continue to play out for the next 11 hours of the show's fifth season."

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