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October 13, 2015

Is the future of Mad Men in doubt?

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 21st 2008 11:35AM
Mad boysAs Bob wrote the other day, AMC has given the Emmy-award winning drama series Mad Men a pick up for a third season. No shock, but that future will be greatly dependent on re-signing Matthew Weiner to continue as the show's creator. Imagining Mad Men without Weiner at the helm is like Sterling Cooper without Don Draper as creative director!

However, while we're waiting to hear that Weiner's signed on the dotted line, the news today has me even more nervous. Jon Hamm and John Slattery have yet to renegotiate their contracts, which means the stars of Mad Men could be done with next week's season finale.

I don't believe that's going to happen, but Roger Friedman floated the possibility out there. He even suggests that Jon Hamm's star has risen so high, so fast that he could be the next George Clooney. Clooney, you'll remember, parlayed a few seasons of ER into a movie career (although there was more to it than that).

I won't go that far, even though I adore Mr. Hamm and would love to see him succeed. (He's my vote for People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive.) But Jon Hamm would be nuts to give up Mad Men at this juncture. The first two seasons have proven to me that Don Draper/Dick Whitman is the most compelling, complex and arresting character on TV right now. Actors don't give up on great roles. James Gandolfini didn't walk away from Tony Soprano. Jon Hamm will not leave Mad Men when there's still so much more story to tell.

He will instruct his agent to get every kind of perk and increase that he can wring out of AMC. Same with Slattery. The actors will play hard ball to receive the rewards for their hard work. That's just good business. The only problem is that AMC is not a major and Mad Men is not a ratings juggernaut. Economics could dictate changes on the horizon, like Mad Men moving from AMC to another network. That may not be such a bad thing -- and you have to assume there would be bidders to grab Mad Men and make it their own, like HBO or Showtime -- except for AMC.

Watch for the powers that be at AMC to swallow hard and come up with the money to please Weiner, Hamm and Slattery. It would sink all their efforts to change their image from an old movie provider to a legitimate creative cable outlet, and that's just not going to happen.

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Does anybody over at Lionsgate understand the cultural value of "Mad Men." I'm not just talking about Emmy awards either, but the way in which the writers seem to always to touch the nerve of our American history in the early sixties .. a few more blogs dealing with these undertones here: http://praxislogos.com

October 22 2008 at 2:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan S.

Yeah, I think I'm okay with Slattery leaving, they could have him die, and it would be a driving force for several episodes if not a whole season, but there is no way that Hamm or Weiner should leave, do whatever it takes to get them to stay, both of them are the heart of the show.

October 21 2008 at 6:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The problem isn't AMC. It's Lionsgate, the studio that produces Mad Men. Matt Weiner wants a sweet new deal with Lionsgate to stay as Mad Men's showrunner. Unfortunately, Lionsgate is having some economic "issues" right now. A couple of Nikki Finke posts illustrating what's going on:



October 21 2008 at 5:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

MK, I agree that George is a major star, but his movies have clearly tanked at the box office (Oceans movies do not count as Clooney vehicles). I do not doubt his talent nor his abiity to win awards. Unfortunately, its not awards that make money, nor fame, in the business. Look at all the award winners who are hardly even seen any more.

I'm also not discounting the many, many fans he has. But it is the fans that got him where he is; and Jon Hamm is still a relative newcomer in the eyes of the general population. The Day the Earth Stood Still should help. I wish him all the luck in the world, and a little side trip to my house. :-)

October 21 2008 at 5:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Carissa's comment


the actor is not just the measure of the commercial success of his movies. In this case the major movie star would be Jim Carey and alike, don't you agree?
As to Jon Hamm future I totally agree with you.

October 21 2008 at 5:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

John Slattery has rarely been on this season. His story has shifted quite a bit. Mad Men could easily survive without him, and with Don taking his position.

John Hamm needs to see if any of his movies do any business before walking away. Clooney didn't do that, and his movies are not exactly box office successes. He is in the limelight more for his friends and celebrity than for his acting. John Hamm has a way to go before he can float on something other than acting alone.

In any event, I imagine Hamm and Weiner will sign for sure.

October 21 2008 at 1:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Carissa's comment

Carissa, you forgot he received Oscar and Golden Globe awards!!!. If you don't count it a successful carrier in the movie industry, I don't know what can convince you otherwise. And to think that he's in limelight only due to his connections and friends is just ludicrous!
He is a major (if not THE major) movie star right now.

October 21 2008 at 4:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love John Hamm, but if he leaves Mad Men right now, he is more likely to be compared to David Caruso than George Clooney!

I also think the show could survive if Slattery left.

October 21 2008 at 12:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jim's comment

in totally agreement with you Jimmy...i think this merger storyline could mean the end of Roger Sterling if AMC only wants to pay Hamm the big bucks.

October 21 2008 at 8:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


October 21 2008 at 12:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob Sassone

I'm not worried about this at all. I'm sure everyone will re-sign.

October 21 2008 at 12:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I had a feeling they were all gonna pull a Gandolfini and hold out for too much money and ruin it. AMC needs to sign them all for the whole 5 years before it's too late.

October 21 2008 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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