May 19, 2015 / 7:20 PM / 5 years ago

More than three million people tune in to 'Mad Men' series finale

Cast member Jon Hamm attends the "Mad Men: Live Read & Series Finale" held in Los Angeles May 17, 2015. REUTERS/Phil McCarten

(Reuters) - The series finale of the critically acclaimed TV show “Mad Men” drew 3.3 million viewers on Sunday, according to Nielsen, a fraction of the audiences that tuned in for the endings of seminal dramas “Breaking Bad” and “The Sopranos.”

The AMC cable channel series, which chronicled the advertising world and shifts in American society during the 1960s through its main character, Don Draper, ended its eight-year run on Sunday night.

Viewership had climbed since its debut in 2007. An average of 1.1 million people watched the first season, either live or within seven days. The show hit its peak in 2012 with Season 5, reaching 4.2 million viewers.

Audiences shrank during the final two seasons, attracting an average of 3.4 million people in Season 7, which was divided into a first half for 2014 and a second for 2015.

The number of viewers in the 18-to-49 age range, which advertisers covet, grew over the course of the series, beginning with less than half a million and ending with 1.6 million for Season 7.

The drug crime drama “Breaking Bad,” also from AMC, drew 10.3 million live or same-day viewers for its series finale in 2013, an increase of 300 percent from the show’s previous season finale.

When HBO’s acclaimed mob drama “The Sopranos” concluded its six-season run in 2007, 11.2 million viewers watched the finale.

Even though “Mad Men” audiences were smaller than other cable TV hits, critics lauded the show for its groundbreaking depiction of American life and an attention to period authenticity in its sets and wardrobes.

The show, created by Matthew Weiner, won 15 Emmys and established AMC as a force in scripted drama.

Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York and Daina Beth Solomon in Los Angeles; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn

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