NEW YORK - "Mad Men" and "True Blood" are two TV shows with a big influence on popular culture. But TV ratings show how it's possible to overestimate their reach.
Nielsen says an estimated 5.2 million people watched the fifth season premiere of "True Blood" on HBO on Sunday. That was down 4 percent from the 2011 season debut. Meanwhile, 2.7 million people watched the fifth season finale of "Mad Men" on AMC the same night.
Those are good numbers for cable networks. Still, a dozen reruns of broadcast network series each drew more viewers than either of those highly-publicized series.
Eleven of those reruns were on CBS, which is a primary reason the network won last week's ratings competition.