UPDATE: AMC has greenlit a fifth season of Mad Men
As some of you may know the future of the greatest show currently on TV (in my opinion), Mad Men, is slowly becoming more and more difficult to foresee. Recently reports were that despite big delays and tough negotiations with the show runner Matthew Weiner, talks with AMC and Lionsgate were finally reaching a deal. Now according to the ever reliable Deadline there may be a few spanners in the works which could prevent the deal going forward.
Currently the deal in hand is to give Weiner $30 million to keep up the show for an extra two years, however because of the hefty fee and the fairly low viewing figures for this kind of show, it has only peaked at 2.9 million while other shows on the AMC network like The Walking Dead are getting close to 6 million per episode. There are three concessions which Weiner and the companies need to iron out. Firstly, they want to integrate more product placement into the show presumably to boost cash flow, secondly they want to shave off 2 minutes of running time per episode to make way for longer ad breaks and thirdly they want rid of two regular cast members.
Deadline insiders suggest that negotiations could collapse, however USA Today have said different from a statement they’ve published from AMC:
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.
This statement however tells us nothing we don’t know already, we knew it would be delayed and we knew a fifth season had been commissioned by the studio all they need is the funding, which is provided by Lionsgate. So if Deadline is right, let’s see how those problems could cause some friction.
The third idea doesn’t seem like too much of an issue, it depends on what you mean by regular, there are cast members who you can’t lose and the last season saw the exit of the brilliant Robert Morse who played Bertram Cooper, and in shifting from Season 3 to Season 4 two of the great characters were lost and the end of Season 4 had many characters being routinely fired. Obviously the character assassination could be worked into the plot, but as said it just depends on who the studio wants to cut.
The other two I fully support Weiner on, from all reports the guy is a hard task master and very singular in his vision and I support him to stick completely to his guns. For me however I hope this goes through although the end to Season 4 would make a very satisfying if open conclusion. Still, I want to see where it goes I would like to see how Weiner closes his story.