AMC greenlights season 5 of 'Mad Men' -- for 2012

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Image Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

AMC declared they’re moving forward with Mad Men — with or without creator Matthew Weiner.

“AMC has officially authorized production of season 5 of Mad Men, triggering our option with Lionsgate (Mad Men‘s production company),” the network said in a statement. “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.”

Sources confirm the network has offered Weiner a whopping $30 million to continue as showrunner on the acclaimed series. Yet Weiner has been holding out, with reports saying he objects to network demands to cut costs and further monetize the show. AMC’s reportedly hoping to add a couple more minutes of commercials and product placement, and is considering ditching two series regulars.

But an insider countered that Weiner’s $30 million pricetag (and the show’s relatively modest ratings compared to, say, AMC’s The Walking Dead) makes some kind of concession necessary: Weiner’s salary would make him the highest-paid showrunner in basic cable history. And even after cutting two minutes from the show, Mad Men would still have a longer weekly running time than most other basic cable dramas, like USA’s Burn Notice, FX’s Justified, and TNT’s Southland. As for product placement, an insider points out the show has had “organic and seamless” integrated ads on the show since season 1, as well as denied that Weiner was ordered to cut two cast members, noting the whole on-camera team is signed to return next season (though after that, things are obviously less certain).

“The show cannot be held hostage,” one insider tells EW.

One executive at a rival network seemed to side with AMC: “Are we supposed to feel bad for his $30 million dollar payday? Don’t forget Mad Men will make about a dime in it’s afterlife.”

Weiner told EW in January that he has no intention of leaving the show he created and is eager to get back to work, but “they are fighting over a very lucrative property, and who is going to pay for it to get made; it’s one of the biggest perils of success — everyone wants a piece of it now and they are fighting over who is gonna get the biggest chunk. Then they will come to me because talent is last. It would be heartbreaking for me if they don’t work it out, horrifying really. It would be a shame for fans to never get to see what great stuff we have planned for Don and company.”

What do you think? It’s tough to imagine a writer walking away from such a lucrative payday on a series that he created and thereby handing the creative reins to somebody else — especially if the trade offs are as relatively common as these. It’s not like the network is trying to stunt cast Charlie Sheen or asking for a crossover episode with Breaking Bad. There are few dramas that get to indulge artistic expression more than Mad Men and everybody has a strong vested interest in the show continuing with the current team intact …

Additional reporting by Lynette Rice

Read more:
‘Mad Men': Season 5 likely to be delayed
January Jones on ‘Mad Men’ future: Relax, people!
‘Mad Men’ returning for season 5, says AMC
Matthew Weiner on his expired ‘Mad Men’ contract: ‘I am not looking for a new job’

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Comments (81 total) Add your comment
Page: 1 2 3
  • Chichi

    BOOOOGOUCHOOOOOOO

    • Chelsea

      I suggest that one of you cleevr types come up with a nickname for the lying Weiner, like Weiner the Lying Pervert and whenever he is mentioned in the news he will forever be known as Weiner the Lying Liberal Pervert . I wouldn’t want to be in the news and be referred to as a Lying Liberal Pervert, but I am afraid these guys have no pride or dignity. He will be reelected and continue to destroy the public trust by being a laughing mockery for the rest of his career.I am going to keep him in the coals until he quits or the Democrats realize he is hurting their party and they give him his walking appears.Reply

  • Marnie

    What! That is too long to wait! This just sucks.

  • Karate Pants

    “due to ongoing, key non-cast negotiations” *cough cough* egomaniac nonsense *cough cough*…
    Aughhhhh!

  • Josh

    Let’s face it-Mad Men made it possible for AMC to branch out into hour long dramas.

    • jbird

      Agreed. But Weiner’s an ego-maniac and it doesn’t excuse his actions.

      • Matt

        The fact that he’s not doing it for $30m and cares more about the budget and treatment of the show suggests he ISN’T an egomaniac.

      • Karate Pants

        Hey, Weiner! Quit wasting your time commenting here and GET BACK TO WORK!

      • Jon

        Matt, Weiner could easily negotiate an increase in the show’s budget if he was willing to take a smaller cut. Clearly, the $30m matters more to Weiner than the welfare of the show.

    • greg

      Or you could say that AMC made it possible for Mad Men to exist by deciding to branch out to hour long dramas.

  • charles

    Well at least Breaking Bad will hold us down meanwhile….

  • Ebonic Plague

    They better get their Weiner in place or AMC will time-jump the series into the 80’s when they’re all old and decrepit.

    • Karate Pants

      Yes, in the 80’s.
      …when Creepy Glen is finally old enough to be sentenced as an adult.
      …Joan’s boobs are longer than Roger Sterling’s trench coat.
      …and when *gasp* Don Draper is someone’s gross emphysema-riddled grandpa.
      Nooooo! Load them up in the DeLorean, they MUST go back to the 60’s!

      • Judo Thong

        They might need to retitle the series The Walking Mad Dead Men.

  • commentor

    THIS SUCKS. It needs to come back this summer, like it usually does.

  • Barrack Obummer

    “Ditching two series regulars?”
    There’s already a couple of regulars from the first couple of seasons that I’ve been missing.
    Get rid of Betty.

    • ludlow

      I agree, lovely as she is to look at she can’t act her way out of a paper bag as the expression goes. Betty Draper has served her purpose and the story arc is long past. And it allows Jon Hamm to show off his acting chops with equally talented actors such as Elisabeth Moss instead of struggling through awkward scenes with January Jones. Sorry..

    • Carla in Houston

      I have to agree. Betty’s character just doesn’t seem necessary anymore, and January Jones just doesn’t give her any spark. Jon Hamm is a great actor, and has sex appeal to spare. But there’s more chemistry between Don and his typewriter than between Don and Betty. I never bought them as a couple, and I think Betty’s the problem. Part of it is how she was written, part is the actress. I saw her recently in “Unknown” with Liam Neeson, and I said that’s just Betty all over again. I’m bored, time to lose that character.

    • Sam

      I think Betty needs to go. The story line between her and Don is old. He’s moved on and so should the show. What’s the purpose of her character anyway? Bye bye Betty.

      • hf

        Well, she is the mother of Don’s children. It would be kind of hard to cut her loose completely. And I don’t want to watch Don raising the kids!

    • Karate Pants

      Y’all better choke back some of that because I have a feeling that Betty’s story line isn’t over, it’s only been dormant. And I know January Jones is a bit of a dummy, but she’s a PERFECT Betty.

    • MCS

      Betty needs to be dropped down from regular to recurring. She still has a role, but it certainly isnt in every episode, just when Don sees his kids.

  • kd bart

    January Jones will truly live up to her name.

    • SoyBombGuy

      Ha!

    • LOL

      Boom! Roasted!

  • m.t. h.

    What are they doing????? That kind of a gap will kill the show. Remember when the sopranos came back after a two year hiatus??? No one cared. The world had moved on. Matt get your butt in gear. I need to know how long Don’s second marriage is going to last!!

    • MCS

      This will be exactly like the Sopranos. I will most likely no longer care for Mad Men, it will only be die hard fans left.

  • Tom

    great. It is my understanding that (as of right now) “Breaking Bad” has yet to go before the cameras to shoot their new season. What goes on, AMC!?!?!

    • Hunter

      Breaking Bad has been shooting since early 2011 and is expected to premiere this summer (June or July). AMC’s track record of new programming has been great (Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and hopefully The Killing), but these over a year wait for new seasons are getting ridiculous! Get the negotiations over and give the fans what they want!

  • tomm

    Well, the show will pick up in 1967 I’d say, the ‘Summer of Love’.

    If they want to cut people, get rid of Ken, Betty, her new hubby, and nerdy Harry.

  • Jamie

    “AMC’s reportedly include adding a couple more minutes of commercials, product placement and ditching two series regulars.”

    What has happened to proof-reading in journalism? Come on, you guys are supposed to be a national publication and your job is that of a writer!

    • squishmar

      They also added an apostrophe to “its” in this quote: “Don’t forget Mad Men will make about a dime in it’s afterlife.”

      I’m a proofreader and I go nuts when I read stuff on here. (And I’m not talking about the comments section, either.)

  • vicki

    this is such BS!!!! no one will watch it in 2012…matt needs to quit sucking his thumb and get to work!!

    • Mike

      If I recall, The Sopranos didn’t stick to a normal schedule either and that show did just fine when it came back. It’s EVENT television, whenever it returns, people will be there.

  • F Chris Brown

    Weiner needs to get the c–k out of his mouth and get back to work. Speaking of negotiations, he needs to renew his contract with his beard/wife.

    • KC

      I think you have Weiner confused with the creator of Glee.

      • F Chris Brown

        No, Murphy is out and proud. Not MW.

      • cap’t obvious

        why is this conversation even happening?

      • @ F Chris Brown

        I hope the proud part is for being gay and not creating that awful series.

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