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Mad Men! Game of Thrones! The Killing! Why Is All the Good TV on Sunday?

Jessica Pare, Jon Hamm, Mad Men Ron Jaffe/AMC

Mad Men, The Killing, Frozen Planet, Game of Thrones—why do all of my favorite shows have to be on the SAME NIGHT? And why is it Sunday?
—Ande, via the inbox

Indeed, Sunday night, once a hodgepodge of sitcoms and family fare, has been taken over by highfalutin, classy TV. You know, series that have arcs for characters, not mere situations. So why must we now don a cummerbund before picking up our remotes on Sundays?

There is one network to blame:

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I'll give you a few paragraphs to guess what it is.

OK, actually, that was one paragraph.

"It's the legacy of HBO," says Chet Fenster, managing partner at the production and branded content creator MEC Entertainment. (The company produces programs and other content for MTV, CBS, NBC and A&E.) "They created a habit for smart, upscale, buzz-worthy shows on Sunday night, from Sex and the City to The Sopranos to Entourage."

Once those shows went away, Fenster says, other broadcasters sensed the void and moved to fill it.

"That's why ABC put Desperate Housewives on Sunday, to go after the Sex and the City crowd," Fenster dishes. "It's why Mad Men got slotted for Sundays at 10 p.m., because of [creator] Matt Weiner's Sopranos pedigree."

And Sunday works as the ideal night to show off all this class.

"If you look at the history of TV, it's the most heavily viewed night," says Andrew Susskind, director of the television program at Drexel University. "Everyone is home, work starts tomorrow, people are tuckered out from the weekend and most likely to be willing to sit down to watch TV."

Among those many people are, of course, the most coveted demographic of the moment: Watchers age 18 to 49 with money to burn, and who can support advertisers.

You listening, Don Draper?

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