Mad Men has never gotten huge TV ratings to match its incredible buzz in the media and online, but last Sunday's season finale at least set a new bar for how many people tuned in for the continuing adventures of Don Draper. According to the numbers at THR, Sunday's episode "The Phantom" had the best-ever ratings for a Mad Men series finale, bringing in 2.7 million viewers. On top of that, the fifth season of the show was the most-watched season yet, with an average of 2.6 million viewers that's up 15% over the averages for Season 4.

These ratings were so celebrated by AMC that they even came along with a statement from showrunner Matthew Weiner, who might be sucking up a little bit to his viewers when he says:

: "We make Mad Men' for the fans. My goal is to tell a compelling story and entertain people, and it thrills me that people keep watching."

Of course, if you've watched Mad Men long enough, you know they don't do everything for the fans-- how else to explain Peggy leaving Sterling Cooper? But with such a small fan base, Mad Men needs to hang on to their fans as much as possible. And this season did a great job of it, really-- every episode seems to trump the one before it in both jaw-dropping moments (Pete and Lane's fistfight! Joan's "date" with Jaguar) and the resonant themes of the show that really seemed to take hold this season. Weirdly, the finale was one of the weaker episodes of the season, but after the gut-punch of the previous episode "Commissions and Fees," maybe all those people who tuned in were ready for the break.

As usual with Mad Men, we have no idea how long it will take for the show to return, but we can probably count on it being a long wait. Maybe now with these kinds of ratings, we can also count on more fans being with us when the show finally comes back.

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