The final episode of "Mad Men" did not excite the fans to any special ratings level, unless they are just holding the show on their DVRs to watch later. The Sunday night ratings, which include same-night DVR playback, count 3.3 million viewers — the third-highest audience for an episode during the show's run on AMC, per Nielsen. The finale did set a high for the show in its target 25-54 demo.
According to Nielsen estimates that include live viewing and same-night DVR playback, an average audience of 3.3 million watched the finale — the show’s third largest audience ever and about 1.43 million (or about 75%) more than the previous week’s total (1.87 million). The series high came with the show’s season five premiere in 2012, when 3.54 million welcomed back the show after a 17-month break….
AMC was expected to issue additional ratings data on Friday when “Live +3″ numbers are available from Nielsen. In recent weeks, “Mad Men” has grown more than 75% in these numbers, which incorporate three days’ worth of time-shifted viewing.
“Mad Men” was always more of a critical favorite than mainstream hit, especially in the early going. The series averaged less than 1 million viewers for its first season, but then grew with each of its next three seasons. The show, which won four Emmys for best drama, peaked with its 2012 season, when an average same-day audience of 2.7 million watched each week’s Sunday episode.
A little different at The Wrap:
Loved it or didn’t so much love it, “Mad Men” closed on a high note — the AMC series finishes with a best-ever 1.7 million viewers in its key 25-54 demo, according to Nielsen’s Live Plus Same Day numbers.
The show pulled in 3.3 million total viewers, with 1.4 million coming from the other important 18-49 demographic. It was actually the highest-rated “Mad Men” finale per all three demos.
The final hour-and-change on Sunday was the third highest-rated episode ever among total viewers and in the 18-49 demo, behind only the Season 5 (3/25/12) and Season 6 (4/7/13) premieres. Both of those season-openers were two-hour, double-episode premieres….
All that said, “Mad Men” is a heavily time-shifted show, often seeing gains of 100 percent over the three days following an original telecast.
Though, anyone who saved the finale to watch later risked big-time spoilers pretty much everywhere.