In a rather bold move AMC has decided to officially greenlight a fifth season of its Emmy-winning, flagship series Mad Men without a deal in place for creator/exec-producer Matt Weiner. The network is exercising its option with the series’ producer Lionsgate TV and work will start on the new season shortly.
While this may seem bold, and it is, it’s not unprecedented. In fact, AMC did the exact same thing two years ago when it was almost in the exact same position and negotiations with Weiner were dragging on. Sadly, even thought his may seem like good news for Mad Men fans, there’s at least one bit of bad. Because of the still unresolved negotiations with Weiner, the premiere of Season 5 is being pushed from the Summer to early 2012.
Here’s the full statement 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.”
While some may slam Weiner for holding things up the delay isn’t all about money, at least not directly for him. His part of the deal is reportedly already in place, which would make him the highest paid showrunnner on TV with close to $30 Million for two years. The delay has more to do with creative elements of the show.
The creator/exec-producer is reportedly objecting to three things AMC and Lionsgate are asking for: integrating product placement into the series, cutting two minutes from each episode’s running time in favor of more commercials, and eliminating/reducing two regular cast members to save money. Doesn’t seem all that unreasonable. Just give the man what he wants and let’s get on with it.
What do you think? Are those three things important enough to keep Mad Men off the air or is Weiner wrong? Sound off in the comments.