'Mad Men' Gone Until 2012; Creator Matthew Weiner May Leave
By AOL TV Editors Posted Mar 29th 2011 02:08PM
"AMC has officially authorized production of season five of 'Mad Men,' triggering our option with Lionsgate ['Mad Men's' production company]," the network said in a statement Monday. "While we are getting a later start than in years past due to ongoing, key non-cast negotiations, 'Mad Men' will be back for a fifth season in early 2012."
Those key negotiations involve creator Matthew Weiner. His 'Mad Men' contract ran out at the end of season four, and he has been in talks with AMC and Lionsgate for several months.
Will Weiner oversee the fifth season of the critically acclaimed drama? According to Deadline, negotiations have hit a particularly rough patch in recent days.
Update: Matthew Weiner Says "I Am Fighting for the Show"
Weiner's paycheck isn't the issue; his compensation demands have been met. The terms of his new deal, assuming it goes through, will make him the highest-paid show-runner in basic cable history. He'll rake in close to $30 million within three years.
The network and Lionsgate, however, want more product placement, a shorter running time for the show and a smaller cast in order to save money. Many 'Mad Men' episodes clock in around 47 minutes, and the network wants to trim two minutes from that running time.
An insider says, "The cast is returning." If anything were to happen in that arena, it would affect minor characters on the show.
As far as the difficult negotiations go, we've been here before. There were thorny issues to be worked out the last time Weiner's contract ran out, and eventually those issues (some of them quite similar to the ones on the table now) were resolved, and the show went forward. Let's hope that happens again here, or 'Mad Men' fans may just have to hit the bottle as hard as Don Draper did last season.
It'll certainly be odd not to look forward to the show's return in late summer, which is when the period drama usually comes back. But AMC has many dramas in the hopper for the rest of the year, including the excellent drama 'The Killing,' which premieres Sunday, season four of 'Breaking Bad,' which comes back in the summer, as well as season two of 'The Walking Dead' and the new drama 'Hell on Wheels,' both of which arrive in the fall.
Written by Maureen Ryan at TV Squad.
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