GOOD NEWS FOLKS: 'Mad Men' deal done: Matthew Weiner returns, Season 7 possible
You can now discontinue your "Mad Men" vigil: The show will continue to be run by creator Matthew Weiner for two more seasons — and possibly even one more after that.
AMC and Lionsgate, which produces the show, announced the deal late Thursday (March 31). It includes AMC picking up the show for Seasons 5 and 6 with Weiner as showrunner. Lionsgate has also signed Weiner to a long-term deal that “extend[s] into a possible seventh season.”
"I want to thank all of our wonderful fans for their support," Weiner says in a statement. "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."
Season 5 of “Mad Men” is scheduled to air early next year, as AMC announced a couple days ago. A start date for filming has yet to be determined.
In closing the deal, AMC, Lionsgate and Weiner resolved a couple of sticking points over the show’s running time and product integration. An insider tells Zap2it that the premiere and the finale of each season will run for 47 minutes, the average episode length in Season 4.
For the episodes in between, Weiner will have the option to deliver both 45- and 47-minute versions to AMC, which will then make the call (based on ad load, scheduling considerations and the like) on which version to air in its initial run. However, if it opts for the shorter version in a given week, viewers can see the longer one via on-demand and other viewing options.
As for product placement, Weiner will still have full creative control over what goes into the show, but unlike in the past, those brands will be able to play up their relationship with the Emmy-winning series.
Hear ‘Mad Men’ creator Matthew Weiner’s music picks
Though “Mad Men” fans are feverishly waiting for 2012 — or at least news that executive producer and series creator Matthew Weiner will be happily on board for the show’s delayed fifth season after lengthy negotiations with its network, AMC — at least we can hear the man’s soundtrack. He stopped by KCRW on Wednesday for the radio station’s Guest DJ Project and spun five tracks: Bing Crosby’s “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”, Jim Croce’s “New York’s Not My Home,” Big Star’s “The Ballad of El Goodo,” “Joni Mitchell’s “Rainy Night House” and the Decemberists’ “Los Angeles, I’m Yours.”
We knew Weiner was a Decemberists fan — the pirate-lovin’ indie-folk act’s “The Infanta” played during a much-discussed 2008 montage — but fingers crossed we see Sally Draper softly weeping to Big Star’s “Thirteen” during a future episode. Stream and download the session, which also includes an interview, on KCRW’s site. What do you think of his picks, Brand Xers?
Photo: “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner on the red carpet during the AMC “Mad Men” gala event at Hotel Royal Monceau Raffle on February 8, 2011 in Paris, France. Credit: Francois Durand/Getty Images
Image Credit: Michael Underwood/WireImage.com’ AMC
Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner issued a statement to fan site Basket of Kisses clarifying his negotiating position that has delayed the show’s eagerly anticipated fifth season until 2012. “There’s been a lot of speculation and misinformation in the press about what is going on,” Weiner said. “I want the fans to know directly from me that I had nothing to do with this delay and it is not about money. I am fighting for the cast and for the show. And I appreciate the kindness and concern of the fans.”
Weiner said he didn’t have an “actual conversation” haggling with the network until three weeks ago. The showrunner also confirmed he was asked to cut two actors from the show each year for three years, though at least one report disputes this. “Even though people have left the show, none of that has ever been about money,” he said. “I’ve brought the show in on budget. I’ve been a good producer.”
Meanwhile, another showrunner seemingly weighed in. Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter tweeted: “You can’t ask a network for 10 million, then b—- when they want to expand their ad revenue source. Whore or saint, pick one.”
Weiner disputed that he’s been been offered $10 million to continue with the show for three years (though notably didn’t say whether the number was too high or too low) and says it’s not a number he sought out. “First of all, the number that’s been published is not true,” Weiner said. “Second of all, I offered to have less money, to save the cast, and to leave the show in the running time that it’s supposed to be. The harder that I’ve fought for the show, the more money that they’ve offered me.”
AMC Officially Greenlights Season 5 Of 'Mad Men' For Early 2012 Premiere
Despite not having a deal with Mad Men creator-executive producer Matt Weiner yet, AMC is officially moving ahead with a fifth season of the Emmy-winning period drama, exercising its option with the series’ producer Lionsgate TV. (The cable network made a similar move two years ago when, along with Lionsgate, it was again embroiled in difficult renegotiations with Weiner.) Because of the protracted talks with Weiner, referred to in a statement by AMC as “key non-cast negotiations,” the premiere of Season 5 is being pushed from the summer to early next year. Here is the full statement: "AMC has officially authorized production of season 5 of Mad Men, triggering our option with Lionsgate. 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.”
There’s a trouble brewing in the negotiations between “Mad Men" creator Matt Weiner and AMC/Lionsgate Television. Deadline is reporting that talks "are suddenly on the rocks" because Weiner is objecting to three things that the network and the studio are demanding from him.
The negotiations are done in order to lock a fifth season in time for the network’s April upfront meetings with advertisers. AMC, which owed most its success to the series, wants integrated product placement into the series, 2 minutes cut from each episode’s running time in favor of more commercials and the elimination of two regular cast members to save money.
Weiner agreed to none of the points as an insider said, “This is their storied franchise, and they want it shorter and cheaper, with fewer actors and more product integration. The negotiations are about to collapse as a result.”
Back in 2009, Weiner and AMC had been at odds regarding the two extra minutes of commercials. After a discussion that caused a delay to the third season, they agreed on adding extra minutes in each episode. The show ran a little over an hour, which is more than 5 minutes longer than many basic cable hours.
This time, negotiations are stalled but reps for the network said that they will continue to find the middle. As a result, there’s a possibility that the fifth season’s production would not start in time for summer premiere date.
Not sure if this is true, but it’d better not be. If it is, good for Weiner for sticking to his guns but bad form AMC. Bad form.