Matthew Weiner defends 'Mad Men' standoff


Image Credit: Michael Underwood/' 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.”

Read more:
Damon Lindelof on AMC’s ‘Mad Men’ offer: $30 million ‘seems pretty fair’
‘Mad Men’ casting cuts? Who could you not live without?
‘Mad Men’: Season 5 airing in 2012
‘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’

Comments (78 total) Add your comment
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  • L

    Whatever the truth is, OF COURSE he would say it’s not about the money it’s about the art man, c’mon.

    • Tom

      Shut up

  • Dave

    Cutting two characters from the show each year for three years is ridiculous. I don’t blame him for holding out. What’s wrong with AMC? I would have thought they’d be smarter than that. This isn’t a reality show.

    • Karate Pants

      Yeah, I REALLY don’t understand that. The ensemble cast MAKES the show. Maybe the AMC execs are just tired of Betty.

      • charlotte

        I wouldn’t mind giving up Betty. Please guys, get it together! We need our Mad Men.

      • bobby draper

        Why would they be tired of Betty? January Jones brings more attention and fame to the show than most of the other cast members. Do you ever hear anyone talking about Harry or Ken or Pete?

    • Hutchy

      Yeah, evidently from multiple sources its been confirmed that he has to cut two actors a year, cut the running time by 3 minutes to allow for more commercials, and increase the type of product placement that has ruined shows like Chuck. He, quite rightfully and justifiably, is telling them to kiss his a$$, in addition to turning down offers to increase his own salary (AKA a bribe) to make it happen. Good for him.

    • Lisa Simpson

      Are they supposed to vote the actors off the island at the end of each year? What an idiotic platform the network has taken. And please, no product placement. The advertising storylines needs to flow from the overall story arc and not from some mandate that they need to do a Pepsi ad.

      • Karate Pants

        I agree, the suggestion that product placement would be an appropriate way to generate revenue is ridiculous. Why am I picturing Kathy Geiss and her invisible unicorn friends heading up the decision made by AMC???

    • Rita

      they could just go to another network, Southland did it and it didn’t take them years…

  • The Dude

    Stop quoting Kurt Sutter, damn! A tweet is not news.

    • Thom

      Especially since Sutter is a total a**hat. He makes a good show, but the man’s a douche.

    • Renaton

      He may be a douche, but he’s right about this one.

      • Lisa Simpson

        Except he’s not.

      • Jeff

        The only thing he’s right about is that he (Sutter) is a corporate w hore.

      • Jane

        Just because you state as a definitive black/white statement doesn’t make it so. I’m guessing everyone involved has mixed motivations. As long as the show comes back…

    • DW

      Yeah, following Kurt Sutter just makes me dislike the man, and it doesn’t help that season 3 of SoA was so terrible.

    • Utta

      Especially a twitter from a jealous writer. SoA had promise but it’s x10 as pretentious as MM and 1/10 as well made.

    • charles

      Kurt Sutter should consentrate more generating better show than commenting other people who do.
      Maybe the reason why “Mad Men” doesn’t have any weak seasons like SoA-s 3rd one is that Weiner actually isn’t network’s b*tch?!

      • MCS

        Mad Men does have weaker seasons. Maybe if the blind didnt lead the blind here you could see it.

      • Ty

        Sutter *wishes* he were as much a renegade egomaniacal leader as Weiner is. Corsets and ties kick a$$ over wannabes on Sons of Anarchy. Concentrate on your own show Sutter.

  • Barrack Obummer

    Stand Up For Weiner t-shirts coming soon!

  • Jen

    He says “save the cast”, but then he doesn’t even utilize the majority of the players throughout the season. Fans really liked Sal but he had no problem disposing of him. This man makes no sense. He’s lost in his own head.

    • Adrienne

      I loved Sal as a character, but consider maybe that was the reality of the time – you sacrifice a great art director in order to save an account. It was a terrible situation (esp. for Sal), but it happens. In regards to bringing him back to the new agency, look at the new staff they brought in – young, fresh talent that would breathe new life into SCDP, no families, and probably for less pay. Plus, even if they wanted to, Lucky Strike was still their biggest client.

  • Renaton

    *being, sorry

  • Steve

    Agreed on Sutter. “Mad Men” made AMC when it comes to original programming. It broke that network open in a huge way and made “Breaking Bad” and “Walking Dead” possible. “Sons of Anarchy” owes every ounce of its existence to “The Shield”, “Nip/Tuck” and “Rescue Me”; Sutter’s position with FX isn’t even in the same universe as the role of “Mad Men” at AMC.

    • Renaton

      Sutter never suggested that, what are you talking about?
      The point Sutter makes is that if you’re gonna ask for a high price tag, you have to allow there to be ways to PAY said price.
      For him to say he doesn’t want advertisers and want them to keep the budget high is dellusional.
      Weiner has actually convinced himself that he has artistic integrity in being greedy. Of course other showrunners will have an opinion about it.

      • Hutchy

        Yet has apparently offered to cut his own salary to make up the difference, and clearly has no interest in upping his own salary in exchange for compromising his vision. What a greedy douche he is!!

      • Renaton

        Of Weiner is not gonna admit it. Does anyone in TV business ever admit they’re greedy and are using their show as hostage to get more money?

    • Vic Mackey

      Sutter was a big reason why The Shield was a success and one of the greatest tv series ever. He was one of the best writers on the staff and an executive producer. He also played a nut job armenian drug lord on the show. I would argue his position with FX is in the same universe as Weiner.

    • Green

      Sutter’s position with FX is very similar. Sons of Anarchy is FX’s highest rated current series, the network relies on him to make money.

  • Jack

    The show was good (while it lasted), but asking fans to wait so long for the next season is silly. I might start watching again, but maybe not. I’ve already moved on.

    • A

      Plenty of us have the patience to wait. It’s one of my favorite shows on TV, I’m not just going to stop watching because the seasons starts 6 months later than usual.

      • Jack

        It’s not really about patience. It’s about finding alternative things to watch (or even do). All I’m saying is the longer they wait, the higher the risk that people will have found other habitual things during that time. I know some people are “devoted” to their shows. (I try to reserve devotion for more important things.)

      • derek

        You certainly seem devoted enough to come to an entertainment board and post about contract negotiations between a producer and the network. Just sayin’, you seem as “devoted” as any of us.

    • Dave

      The show usually returns in August of each year, yet you’ve already “moved on”?


  • UGH

    I hope Robert Kirkman isn’t forced by AMC to cut some of the zombie-horde out of The Walking Dead so I can see another horrible Progressive commercial.

    • Tim

      That was the funniest thing I’ve read all day.

    • Lisa Simpson

      How about product placement? Deodorant for those foul-smelling zombies? Characters sitting around talking baout how much they love Cheetos? Hay, Flo could even sell insurance to our gang of intrepid survivors.

  • howdy

    It is always about money. What will Weiner say when the show goes into syndication and they chop 5+ minutes from the runtime

  • JiJa

    Weiner holds the show hostage. Of course, it is about the money, but who would admit it.

    • oneatatime

      Exactly! He demands more money for himself, then pretends to be morally outraged when the network wants to add more commercial time (to a show with dismal ratings) or pare the cast. a**hole

  • kaydevo

    I’m with Weiner on this. AMC’s original series began with the success of Mad Men, and they should stay out of creative decisions. Eliminate 6 characters over 3 years? That’s crazy.

  • kaydevo

    Meant to say: AMC’s original series success began with Mad Men.

  • mark in nyc

    suprised the execs at AMC haven’t realized it is the period setting that costs so much money and havent asked him to update it to today.

    • Tami

      lol! too true!

  • Renaton

    I can’t believe people are buying this “cut 2 characters a year” nonsense. No network executive is THAT stupid (they are stupid, just not that much)

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