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'Mad Men' ads up record audience for season debut

In this image released by AMC, Jon Hamm portrays advertising executive Don Draper in a scene from the fifth season premiere of "Mad Men." AMC network says Sunday's premiere telecast drew 3.5 million viewers. This marks a 21 percent growth over season four's premiere. AMC said Monday that the cumulative audience for the night's two airings of the debut episode was 4.4 million viewers. (AP Photo/AMC,  Ron Jaffe)

In this image released by AMC, Jon Hamm portrays advertising executive Don Draper in a scene from the fifth season premiere of "Mad Men." AMC network says Sunday's premiere telecast drew 3.5 million viewers. This marks a 21 percent growth over season four's premiere. AMC said Monday that the cumulative audience for the night's two airings of the debut episode was 4.4 million viewers. (AP Photo/AMC, Ron Jaffe)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Absence made the heart grow fonder for "Mad Men" fans, who flocked to the fifth-season premiere in record numbers.

AMC network says Sunday's premiere telecast drew 3.5 million viewers. This marks a 21 percent growth over season four's premiere. AMC said Monday that the cumulative audience for the night's two airings of the debut episode was 4.4 million viewers.

The audience had been kept waiting for 17 months after "Mad Men" aired its fourth-season finale in October 2010.

The much-acclaimed drama is set in the advertising world of 1960s New York City. It stars Jon Hamm as ad exec Don Draper.