After days of tense negotiations with AMC and Lionsgate, Mad Men creator, executive producer and show runner Matthew Weiner has finally come to a deal for three years with Lionsgate at what is estimated to be $25 – 30 million, working out at around $10 million per season. I have to say considering the high level of quality the show oozes from every pore I think it’s well deserved pay cheque despite what Damon Lindelof thinks.
The deal with AMC is at the moment for Season 5 and Season 6, but Lionsgate has Weiner’s contract out for another year on top of that, so we will most likely see a Season 7. Weiner has said that these will be the final seasons of the show, he claimed in an interview:
These will be the last 3 seasons of the period drama. I’m going to take it one year at a time without the distraction to ever have to go through this again. I’m incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support and overwhelmed that I get to finish telling the stories I want to tell.
He also seemed to support the reports that negotiations had become very tense, and insisted that this was down to him wanting to retain his artistic vision:
I walked away from it 4-5 times in the last few days. It’s never been about money, I wanted to do the show I wanted to do and the show the audience has come to expect.
He also said that he will be back to work today and the writers will come together to etch out season plans and episodes in the next 4 to 5 weeks, meaning the fifth season will probably begin shooting around the time that Mad Men has originally premiered, in the summer. According to Deadline the decision for the fifth season premiere in March of 2012 was actually made as far back as October, and Weiner was informed of this, as AMC have to air 4 other series and this was the only time the slate that was free. Breaking Bad will fill in the empty Mad Men slot after a similarly delayed starting point.
In the deal about length and product placement reports suggest this. Originally AMC wanted to cut down episode length from 47 minutes to 45 minutes to accommodate for more advertising, this is going to happen partly. The season premiere and finale will both be 47 minutes long, however episodes 2 – 12 will have a 45 minute running time on AMC while on VOD and DVD releases will have 47 minutes. All the cuts for the aired version will be made by Weiner.
Weiner also has control over product placement and how it will be woven into the narrative, it will be there but the writers have complete control over it. There will be no cast or budget cuts, each episode will have a $2.5 million budget, which Weiner consistently delivers. Its great news and I’m thrilled that they have finally come to a deal, after the brilliance of Season 4 I hope that any delays don’t affect the quality. They have the most intelligent writers working on that show and may it continue, I also completely admire Weiner for allowing his show to end before it gets stale. You can read the full press release below. (Deadline)
New York – March 31, 2011 – AMC and Lionsgate today announced the return of the iconic series “Mad Men” for seasons five and six with series creator Matthew Weiner back on board as showrunner. Concurrently, it was announced that Weiner has signed a new long-term deal with Lionsgate, extending into a possible seventh season. The announcements were made by Charlie Collier, president of AMC, and Kevin Beggs, president of Lionsgate Television Group.
When AMC debuted “Mad Men” in July 2007 it quickly became one of the most talked about series on television. Set in 1960s New York, “Mad Men” is a sexy and provocative original drama that follows the lives of the ruthlessly competitive men and women of Madison Avenue advertising. Produced by Lionsgate, “Mad Men” has made television history as the only cable series to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama and the Golden Globe for Best Television Series-Drama for three consecutive years.
“I want to thank all of our wonderful fans for their support.” said Weiner. “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.”
“AMC’s original programming began with a mission to create bold storytelling of the highest quality, and ‘Mad Men’ was the perfect expression of that commitment. We’ve been proud to support this show from the day we read Matt’s ground-breaking pilot script and have loved building it with Matt and Lionsgate into the cultural phenomenon it has become,” said Collier. “For everyone involved in the show and its passionate fans, we are thrilled to announce that the series will continue on AMC under the exceptional vision of Matt Weiner.”
“We are proud to continue our successful relationships with AMC and the brilliantly talented Matt Weiner, whose vision has created one of the most distinguished series on television,” said Beggs. “We also appreciate the passion and patience of ‘Mad Men’ fans around the world who have been awaiting this good news, and we believe they will be rewarded with many more seasons of this extraordinary and groundbreaking series.”
Mad Men’s award-winning ensemble cast includes: Golden Globe-winner Jon Hamm, January Jones, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Jared Harris, Rich Sommer, Aaron Staton, Robert Morse and Kiernan Shipka.