'Mad Men' returns to lowest premiere in years

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What worked for Breaking Bad might not be working for Mad Men.

AMC unveiled the first half of Mad Men‘s split final seventh season to the lowest debut audience since the show’s second year. But unlike the cable network’s Breaking Bad — which climbed in the ratings with every season, including its similarly split two-year final run — only 2.3 million viewers watched Don Draper’s return Sunday night at 9 p.m. The acclaimed period drama then had two repeats for a grand total of 4.4 million. This marked the first of seven episodes that will air this year, with the final seven planned for 2015.

AMC pointed out to reporters that Mad Men is “the most upscale show on ad-supported television among adults 18-49, and sees significant time-shifting activity.” The network also noted these numbers are not far off from the sixth season’s average.

The second episode of AMC’s new historical drama Turn had 1.9 million viewers with its premiere airing — not good, but it’s a fair performance considering its lead-in.

Meanwhile, HBO’s Game of Thrones stayed strong with 6.3 million viewers, which is down a scant 5 percent from last week’s record-setting return. It’s also up 48 percent from last year’s second episode, and gained another 1.7 million across two replays.

The second episode of HBO’s new comedy Silicon Valley was down a bit more, averaging 1.7 million viewers, declining 15 percent from its debut. While Veep had 860,000, down 10 percent.

Here’s EW’s Mad Men recap and interview with Neve Campbell. For Thrones, here’s our recap of Joffrey’s shocking wedding, an in-depth interview with the showrunners, our Q&A with author George R.R. Martin and an exclusive chat with actor Jack Gleeson.

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