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The 'Mad Men' season 6 teaser has arrived: 'What is happiness?' -- VIDEO

It’s been a long, skinny tie-less off-season for Mad Men watchers, full of moving still imagery and bizarre lawsuits. But no longer: This morning we bring you a full, 30-second teaser trailer for the sixth season, which is just two weeks off. What’s changed since last we saw Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce?

Creator Matthew Weiner is still playing his cards pretty close to the vest, opting to use clips from season 5 to set the mood. But it doesn’t look like anyone’s going to be happy — Don, particularly (burden of the American ethos on his shoulders, didn’t you hear?). But at least he has a cure for such marital not-so-bliss: “I am who I am. The next thing will be better.”

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New 'Mad Men' video hints at new season's big themes, crazy hair

Yesterday, AMC released a new poster for the impending return of Mad Men featuring a pair of Don Drapers. There were two ways to read that poster: This season would return the focus to the idea of Don’s double life, or this season would introduce Don’s heretofore unknown twin brother, Ron Draper, who would join Don in planning a wacky elaborate “Parent Trap” plot to finally get Roger and Joan together. READ FULL STORY

Decoding the new 'Mad Men' ad: Don Draper meets Don Draper

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Last year, Mad Men teased its return from a very long hiatus with a pair of very cool advertisements: A minimalist teaser ad which inspired a fill-in-the-blank graffiti meme, and an evocative image featuring a pair of extremely suggestive existential mannequins. But this year the show has taken a decidedly more classical approach. A new poster that hit New York subways is actually a drawing that looks straight out of an advertisement in a mid-60s New Yorker. (As reported by The New York Times, the poster was actually illustrated by an old pro named Brian Sanders, a commercial artist who’s been working since the ’60s.)

Check out the official image below, and read on for some theories about what it means for season 6. (Click on the picture for a bigger image.) READ FULL STORY

Model sues 'Mad Men' for image use in opening credits

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Before Mad Men returns for its sixth season on April 7, it has one small legal matter it might want to attend to.

Despite the show being about advertising execs, it appears that Don Draper didn’t supervise the creation of the hit show’s opening sequence. Model Gita Hall May is suing Lions Gate Entertainment, claiming that the show’s title sequence uses her image without her permission.

Filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the suit says that the opening sequence has played a part in the show earning “in excess of $1 billion,” and that Hall May has not been paid. The complaint is about misappropriation of right of publicity for commercial purposes and says the producers “have intentionally misled the public into believing that Plaintiff endorses Defendants and their products.”

The suit reads: “Because Defendants exploited the Photograph and Plaintiff’s likeness and image while knowing that Defendants had no right to do so, and knowing that such conduct was a violation of Plaintiff’s legal rights and the law, Defendants have acted with fraud, malice and oppression.”

Hall May wants statutory and punitive damages, injunctive relief, albany commercial litigation attorney fees and costs, restitution and the cost of the suit.

Lions Gate had no comment.

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AMC's 'Mad Men' gets return date, plus Matthew Weiner talks season 6

The Don of a new season will soon be upon us: Mad Men returns to AMC on April 7 at 9 p.m., the network confirmed today. Season 6 of the Madison-Avenue-in-the-’60s drama kicks off with a two-hour premiere, written by series creator/executive producer Matthew Weiner and directed by executive producer Scott Hornbacher. (Starting April 14, the show will air in its normal time slot of 10 p.m.) EW spoke briefly with Weiner, and while the showrunner was typically tight-lipped on plot details, he did offer up a few choice quotes to chew on:

On the double-sized premiere: “If you like the show, there’s a good chance you’ll like the premiere…. It is different than last year’s in a sense that it was my idea and I was just trying to give bang for a buck to an audience that I didn’t want to lose because we’d been away for so long. This year it’s really constructed like a film. It is its own story and hopefully it foreshadows the rest of the season…. You should know what happened at the end of last season before you see the episode. The whole season is in reference to last season.” READ FULL STORY

DGA Awards TV noms include Lena Dunham, Louis C.K, and Bryan Cranston

Today, the Directors Guild of America announced its nominees for TV and commercials. Some of the shows involved are predictable (Homeland, Mad Men, Louie, Girls), while others aren’t (check out that Reality category!). The list:

Dramatic Series:
Michael Cuesta, Showtime’s Homeland, “The Choice”
Jennifer Getzinger, AMC’s Mad Men, “A Little Kiss”
Lesli Linka Glatter, Showtime’s Homeland, “Q&A”
Rian Johnson, AMC’s Breaking Bad, “Fifty-One”
Greg Mottola, HBO’s The Newsroom, “We Just Decided To”

Comedy Series:
Louis C.K., FX’s Louie, “New Year’s Eve”
Mark Cendrowski, CBS’s The Big Bang Theory, “The Date Night Variable”
Bryan Cranston, ABC’s Modern Family, “Election Day”
Lena Dunham, HBO’s Girls, “Pilot”
Beth McCarthy-Miller, NBC’s 30 Rock, “Live from Studio 8H” READ FULL STORY

'Breaking Bad,' 'Modern Family' dominate WGA Award nominees

What do Walter White and Phil Dunphy have in common? They’re both at the center of the TV shows most honored by the Writers Guild of America today. The group just announced the nominees for its annual awards, which will be handed out Feb. 17 at simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York. Breaking Bad garnered five nods; Modern Family drew four. Here’s a list of all the primetime and late night series in contention for the event’s biggest prizes:

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Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): Matthew Weiner and Jessica Pare on 'Zou Bisou Bisou,' the '60s tune that kept 'Mad Men' humming

When Matthew Weiner cast Montreal native Jessica Paré as a pretty assistant at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, only a few people knew that she would eventually become Mrs. Don Draper. Initially, Paré was not one of those few, so even after a moon-eyed Draper proposed to her during the final episode of season 4, she understood that her next scene could very easily include her resting peacefully in a casket. But Weiner had other ideas, and in the long-awaited season 5 premiere, he unveiled a whole new show dynamic, with Don and Megan’s relationship at the heart of it. “I said it as a joke, but the story of the season for me is that Don and Megan are soul mates,” says Weiner. “They are one person and that person is Don. And right in that first episode, there’s a line from Roger where he says, ‘They’re all great until they want something.’ As soon as Megan starts to separate from him by rejecting advertising and pursuing her acting career, it’s very hard on them. It’s very hard on him.”

In that two-hour premiere, titled “A Little Kiss,” the seeds of the season’s tension were ingeniously planted with one amazingly hypnotic song and dance number. Harry Crane wasn’t the only member of the audience who was mesmerized by Paré’s sexy rendition of Gillian Hills’ playful 1960 single. “Zou Bisou Bisou” was practically trending online before the episode concluded, and the catchy tune would reverberate for weeks. Below, Weiner reflects on the kernel of the idea that sprouted into an unforgettable moment for the Emmy-winning AMC drama, and Paré describes the terrifying challenge of bringing it to the screen.

For more stories behind this year’s top moments, click here for TV and here for movies.

MATTHEW WEINER: It would be a lie to say there wasn’t a showmanship aspect to it. We’d been off the air for 17 months — against my will — and I really wanted to make sure that we gave the audience some bang for their buck. It wasn’t the major thing, but it’s certainly where some of it came from. For me, the origin of the idea was that Don had proposed to this woman, and the audience didn’t even know if he was going to marry her. And the audience didn’t know anything about her. And I kind of wanted to give her a character moment, especially if the whole season was going to be about their relationship and what it meant to Don — to sort of introduce her to the audience and to the other characters through her personality. What I thought was, it’s one of the old saws of all entertainment — the surprise birthday party — and I loved the idea that this woman was very different from the people at the office. That she was younger, that she had a different set of rules, that she was more fun-loving, that she was extroverted, and that Don’s intense, almost-pathological privacy was going to be broken by this woman’s personality. She is throwing the surprise party — which means he has no say in it. No one knew at that time she was going to become an actress, so what better time to show her do this song for him, in front of all his “friends.” I mean, it was story: this is who this woman is. I think people thought that the whole story was going to be about him hiding his past from her, but you find out right there and then that she knows it all. So where is the show going to go? Well, whether you realize it or not in that episode, you just witnessed the major conflict in their relationship. That she has her own personality and Don can’t control it. She is expressing her sexuality out in front of everyone.

I love music from this period. I didn’t know it was a genre, but I was raised on a lot of light French movies. There was a lot of this music in the Pink Panther movies and things like that, American movies with a little bit of European flair to them. So I was looking for the right sort of sexy song for her to sing, and for some reason or another I found this song, realized I’d heard it before, and it just had the perfect mix of childishness and sexiness that made it a socially-appropriate strip tease. The other thing was I wanted it to feel like a real person doing it. I didn’t want it to feel like it was some big, rehearsed choreographed number. I wanted to feel like it was somebody who had just sort of practiced it a few times in their house and had the guts to do it. READ FULL STORY

'Mad Men': John Slattery, Jon Hamm to direct episodes in season 6

We know little about the kinds of drama that will ensnare Don Draper and Roger Sterling when Mad Men returns this spring. (Something tropical, perhaps?) We have just learned, however, that the men who play these characters, Jon Hamm and John Slattery, are stepping behind the camera again.

Slattery will direct a pair of season 6 episodes of AMC’s ’60s-set series, while Jon Hamm also will helm an installment, the network confirms. READ FULL STORY

Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): Jared Harris on his memorable 'Mad Men' exit

If you’re a Mad Men fan, you’re probably still in shock — or denial — about that devastating penultimate episode of season 5. Back in June, EW joined a conference call with eventual Emmy nominee Jared Harris to find out when he discovered his time at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce was done, to discuss his favorite Lane Pryce moments, and of course, to talk about that grisly scene. For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for EW.com’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage.

After the table read for episode 10, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner pulled Harris aside.  “[Matthew] said, ‘Let’s go up to my office,’ which I knew wasn’t a good sign, and then he offered me incredibly expensive brandy, and then I knew this wasn’t going to go well,” Harris says. “And he said, ‘I have something I want to talk to you about,’ and I said, ‘Uh oh. This doesn’t sound good,’ and he said, ‘No, it’s not. I’m really sorry.’  But he explained why he wanted to do [the suicide], and he’d been building up to it throughout the season, and from an acting point of view it was to my benefit to go out with a bang rather than a whimper.” READ FULL STORY

Aloha, Don and Megan! New photos reveal 'Mad Men' in Hawaii

Like the Bradys, the Jeffersons, the Tanners, and the Dunphy-Pritchett-Delgados before them, the Drapers are headed to Hawaii. New photos reveal that Don (Jon Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) will vacation in Maui during Mad Men‘s upcoming sixth season. This being Mad Men, additional details are scarce — though Megan is enjoying a tropical drink garnished with a slice of pineapple in one snapshot, and Don is reading a book called The Inferno (Dante’s?) in another.

While the bulk of season 6 remains a mystery, we do know that Mad Men has been renewed only through next year. There is, however, a strong possibility that the series will end after seven seasons, especially since star Jon Hamm’s contract lasts through 2014.

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AMC settles Dish dispute, just in time for tonight’s ‘Walking Dead’
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AMC settles Dish dispute, just in time for tonight's 'Walking Dead'

Our long national nightmare is finally over: AMC has settled its legal battle with Dish Networks, thus ensuring that Dish subscribers will once again be able to spend their Sunday nights watching the cast of The Walking Dead concoct exciting new ways to stab zombies in the face.

The lawsuit — an arcane dispute rooted in the defunct Voom service — ended this weekend when AMC and Cablevision agreed to a settlement with Dish. According to a press release, Dish agreed to pay AMC and Cablevision $700 million, and also entered into a new multi-year agreement to air the channels comprising AMC Networks — which includes AMC, IFC, the Sundance Channel, and WE tv.

The Dish settlement comes at an auspicious time: Last week’s Dead season premiere earned monstrous, better-than-broadcast ratings, confirming AMC’s status as one of the pre-eminent basic cable networks. The show might add some viewers this week: EW has confirmed that AMC (and its sister networks) will begin airing on Dish in time for subscribers to watch tonight’s Dead.

Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

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Emmys 2012: 'Homeland' ends 'Mad Men' Best Drama winning streak

Mad Men‘s season full of acid trips, go-go boots, and suicides wasn’t enough to bring home the Emmy; the fan favorite show was completely shut out at Sunday’s Primetime Emmy Awards.

Not only did Showtime’s Homeland beat out the AMC show to snag the Emmy for best drama, but agelessly handsome Jon Hamm, who plays dashing-yet-flawed Don Draper, lost out to Homeland’s Damian Lewis in the outstanding lead actor in a drama series category. This is the fifth year in a row Hamm’s been nominated, but hasn’t won. Is he on his way to becoming the Susan Lucci of the Primetime Emmys?

Elisabeth Moss, as the show’s resident ad copywriter-slash-feminist Peggy, lost out as best lead actress to another Homeland star, Claire Danes.

Jared Harris, as dismal ad exec Lane, lost out to Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul, who snatched up the best supporting actor award. Christina Hendricks, Mad Men’s va-voomy Joan, lost out in the best supporting actress category to Downton Abbey’s Maggie Smith.

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