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April 21, 2014

AMC Reaches Deal with 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner

by Maureen Ryan, posted Mar 31st 2011 7:58PM
Don Draper fans, you can heave a sigh of relief.

After what felt like a very long wait, Matthew Weiner has signed a new deal with AMC, which airs 'Mad Men,' and with Lionsgate, the production company that makes the acclaimed drama.

The show still won't return until early 2012 -- probably in March, according to various reports -- but when it does, Weiner will be at the helm of 'Mad Men.' Weiner's deal calls for him to serve as showrunner of the drama for its fifth and sixth season, and a for a possible seventh season if the show runs that long.

The status of 'Mad Men' and whether Weiner would return to the show had occupied the media and fans of quality drama for several weeks, and in recent days there were worries that Weiner would have to compromise his vision for the show in order to continue it -- and by the same token, there were some who couldn't quite understand why it was taking so long to close a deal that would, by all accounts, make Weiner a very wealthy man (as noted here, his deal calls for him to be paid almost $30 million over the course of three years, though Weiner disputed that figure in a recent interview with Basket of Kisses).

In any event, Weiner pronounced himself happy with how the negotiations turned out. Is it safe to say that cast members won't be cut and the show's running time won't be whacked? That isn't spelled out in Thursday's press release, but Weiner certainly sounded satisfied in it.

"I want to thank all of our wonderful fans for their support," Weiner said in a statement issued by AMC. "I also want to thank AMC and Lionsgate for agreeing to support the artistic freedom of myself, the cast and the crew so that we can continue to make the show exactly as we have from the beginning. I'm excited to get started on the next chapter of our story."

UPDATE: Hitfix critic Alan Sepinwall has an excellent breakdown of how AMC and Weiner compromised on various issues. There won't be budget cuts for season 5, but there will be trims for seasons beyond that, and Weiner can choose how to implement those. (Update to the update: Apparently "won't be appreciably different" in season 6.). He'll also be allowed to deliver 47-minute cuts of the show, but, aside from the season premiere and season finale, 45-minute episodes will air on AMC (the longer cuts of episodes 2-12 will be available via other platforms).

"We ... appreciate the passion and patience of 'Mad Men' fans around the world who have been awaiting this good news, and we believe they will be rewarded with many more seasons of this extraordinary and groundbreaking series," Lionsgate Televsion president Kevin Beggs said in the statement.

It's worth noting that the announcement came with a roster of cast names, so you can be sure you'll see these folks in season 5: Jon Hamm, January Jones, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Jared Harris, Rich Sommer, Aaron Staton, Robert Morse and Kiernan Shipka.

I don't know about you, but I think this calls for a celebratory drink.


Follow @MoRyan on Twitter.

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jepes4711

we love mad men.

April 08 2011 at 3:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fosterco

So there's going to be different versions of episodes depending on whether you're watching Mad Men on AMC or on Hulu or something else? What incentive would anyone have to watch the shorter episode on AMC? Need to know more.

April 01 2011 at 1:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lucyfancanada

No Jessica Pare? Very interesting!

April 01 2011 at 12:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
big1nfla

a year? Ha! AMC had better run the entire series' past seasons. I and about 990,000 viewers don't exactly add up to a mega following. It's good news to me the show will continue, but this lengthy gap between seasons is risky, don't you think, Mo? Oh well, best not to rush into production, I reckon, plus the primary cast members are all probably booked or booking appearances in steadier work.

March 31 2011 at 8:56 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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