Viewership for the seventh-season premiere of Mad Men was its lowest since 2008, giving rise to numerous theories—that AMC’s decision to split the “final” season had turned off fans, that the series has finally been overshadowed by its increased Sunday night competition, or that Don Draper is D.B. Cooper, and he absconded with all the televisions and was never heard from again. But now The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed the other, likelier scenario: that more people are simply DVRing the show than ever, with viewership growing about 75 percent once you factor in the number of people who watched Game Of Thrones that night and were subsequently spent.
In fact, adding in DVR numbers brings the premiere’s total viewers to 3.7 million, a number that’s only about 15 percent off from the sixth-season premiere, and a significant jump over last year’s time-shifted numbers. In short, Mad Men hasn’t lost too many fans. Like many of its characters, they’re just embracing changing times and technologies, possibly even experimenting with new drugs and paisley prints.
Furthermore, THR’s data once again confirms that Mad Men has the wealthiest audience of any show outside of pay cable. So, it’s also possible viewers aren’t tuning in live because they’re too busy sailing yachts and overseeing their human chess matches. You know, Sunday night stuff.