What the hell? Lionsgate calling around for a new Mad Men show-runner
As everyone else in the industry is saying: What the hell?
Mad Men just finished its second season with record ratings. It's the first basic cable show to win an Emmy for Best Drama, and Weiner is the show's heart and soul. Believe me when I tell you that it's his vision and attention to detail that you see in every scene. Weiner gave critics a tour of the sets during the July TCAs, and he was able to speak about the look and feel of the show as easily as he was able to talk about the stories and characters. I can't imagine anyone else running the show, even if it's someone that's already on staff.
According to Finke, Weiner is looking for $10 million per year for a multi-year deal, a number that Lionsgate is unwilling to pay because of the show's basic cable budget. AMC has a contract with Lionsgate for two more years of the show, whether Weiner is a part of it or not.
Look, I can't tell Lionsgate how to spend their money, but in this case they're going to need to meet Weiner's demands. Without him, the show may be able to continue and do well, but the quality hit will be just enough for the show's fans to notice and stop watching. When a show-runner is so closely associated with a show, the fans can tell when their influence is no longer there: ask the fans of Gilmore Girls, The West Wing, and Seinfeld what happened when those shows' famous show-runners left.