"Mad Men" premiere ratings inch higher

The cast of "Mad Men" poses after their show won outstanding drama series at the 61st annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California, September 20, 2009. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The Season 4 premiere of AMC’s “Mad Men” drew 2.9 million viewers Sunday, up from 2.8 million for the prior-season launch last August.

Season 3 ended up averaging a modest 1.8 million viewers, up from 1.52 million for Season 2. The Madison Avenue soap will vie for its third consecutive best drama Emmy on August 29.

Despite all the attention and the show’s affluent viewership, “Mad Men” has averaged far fewer viewers than other summer cable dramas like USA’s “Burn Notice,” and ad rates also are lower. An average 30-second spot on first-run episodes of “Mad Men” fetches about $20,000-$25,000, according to a recent trade media report.