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Ratings: Mad Men Opens Season Six Down Just a Bit Versus Last Year

Don Draper (Jon Hamm) - Mad Men - Season 6, Episode 2 - Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/AMC

Last night's two-hour sixth season premiere of Mad Men drew 3.4 million viewers, down just a tick from the 3.5 million who watched last spring's debut. This is the first time the Matt Weiner–created drama has not improved on its previous season's premiere audience. Among viewers under 50, Mad Men also dipped versus last March, averaging 1.4 million viewers in the demo, compared to 1.6 million in 2012. There's probably no reason for Weiner (or AMC executives) to experience some sort of existential crisis over the slight decline, however: Almost all veteran shows on TV (broadcast or cable) have seen their Nielsen numbers go south this season. A big reason is that more and more people are time-shifting viewing, particularly on nights with lots of viewing options: Mad Men faced off against the second episode of the third season of HBO's still-growing Game of Thrones and a resurgent Academy of Country Music Awards on CBS. In other words, Don Draper may be alone, but he's still got plenty of viewers.

Photo: Michael Yarish/AMC