The mad men of Sterling Cooper, from left: Pete Campbell (played by Vincent Kartheiser), Don Draper (Jon Hamm), and Roger Sterling (John Slattery)
Photograph courtesy of AMC
This Sunday saw the much-awaited return of Mad Men. And, while the show is off answering one big question — who is Don Draper? — we found out the answers to some Mad Men questions you didn’t even have to ask. Some not-common-knowledge facts about the show:
- It’s not just the Drapers who are wealthy. Their fans are, too. Almost half of the show’s viewers live in households that make $100,000 per year.
- …And they’re going to need all that dough: It’ll cost at least $300 (plus tax) to get a sweet set of four Mad Men Barbie dolls.
- Sure, everyone you know and every blog you read is obsessed with Mad Men. But the show doesn’t actually have blockbuster ratings. More people watch Burn Notice on USA. When was the last time Burn Notice came up in conversation at a cocktail party you attended?
- Based on the quality of its viewership, it costs $20,000 to $25,000 to run a 30-second ad during a new episode.
- Even though the show has a good ad rate, don’t get too attached: Series creator Matthew Weiner’s contract expires after this season, and AMC’s agreement with Lionsgate ends after the fifth. Cross your fingers that contract negotiations between all three parties goes well.
- Then again, it’s possible you might not want a next season. Weiner is upfront in saying that he doesn’t put any stock into fan input, and doesn’t mind frustrating his followers. When asked if he cares what his audience wants, he told New York magazine’s Vulture, “Not that much. I go with what interests me… If I were to give them what they wanted, I don’t know if they would like it.” (But, honestly, you know that even if they sent Don Draper to the moon, you’d want a fifth season — and it’s better when showrunners don’t capitulate to their audiences.)
- Fans have found ways of asserting their own control over the show, anyway. They’re maintaining their own, not-AMC-approved Twitter feeds for each character — including Betty Draper’s deceased dad. (I wonder what he thinks of his daughter’s marital situation?)
- The new season of Mad Men takes place in 1964. Other TV shows that debuted in 1964 include The Addams Family, Bewitched, Gilligan’s Island, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and The Munsters.
- But forget about the shows — what about the ads? Ads from Don Draper’s era, reposted in Paste, include campaigns for authentic Beatle wigs, chicken-flavored candy, and Kellogg’s Pep.
- Embarrassing before-they-were-famous roles: Christina Hendricks (Joan) got her start on MTV’s extra-campy soap opera Undressed, and January Jones (Betty) was a bitchy sorority sister in a pilot of the aptly named TV show, Sorority, where her character name was “Number One.”
- Did you — heaven forbid! — miss an episode? Mad Men recapping is a growth industry. Every blog seems to employ a Draper chronicler. If you couldn’t DVR, catch up on missed episodes by reading Flavorwire, Salon, Slate, Vulture, or one of many, many others.
Not enough Mad Men for you? Find out more previously unknown facts about the show here:
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