A 17-month absence for "Mad Men" made many hearts grow fonder, as the Emmy-winning AMC drama launched its fifth season on Sunday (March 25) night to series-high ratings.
 
Sunday's two-hour premiere averaged 3.5 million viewers. "Mad Men" also averaged 1.7 million viewers among adults 25-54. While those numbers sound low if you've been paying attention to the massive outpouring of popular support for "Walking Dead" this season, it was the most watched "Mad Men" episode in both measures and was up 21 percent from the Season 4 premiere in total viewers and 17 percent in the show's core demo.
 
The figures prompted an effusive piece of blurbage from AMC President Charlie Collier.
 
"Almost five years ago, with a focus on distinction and quality, AMC launched 'Mad Men' as the first series in its commitment to original scripted dramatic television. 'Mad Men' is the only cable drama to ever win the Emmy award for outstanding drama series four years in a row and the Golden Globe for best television drama series for three years in a row. 'Mad Me' set the bar high and we are incredibly proud that it continues to engage audiences looking for unexpected, unconventional and uncompromising television," states Collier, AMC's president. "For each of the five 'Mad Men' seasons Matthew Weiner and his team have crafted a beautifully told story and each season a larger audience has responded; a rare accomplishment. We couldn’t be more proud of this program, the brilliant writers, cast and crew, and the entire team on each side of the camera." 
 
Want more "Mad Men" figures? When you add in the show's 11 p.m. encore airing, the premiere audience rises to 4.4 million. Also, while the 25-54 audience was only up by 17 percent, "Mad Men" actually rose 30 percent among adults 18-49 with 1.6 million viewers.