Summer Bummer: Mad Men's Return Delayed

As anticipated yet nonetheless dreaded, protracted negotiations between AMC, production studio Lionsgate and Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner have resulted in the acclaimed drama’s Season 5 premiere being delayed.

By how much? Well, whereas Mad Men typically uncorks each new season in late summer, Season 5 won’t arrive until — wait for it — next year.

“AMC has officially authorized production of Season 5 of Mad Men, triggering our option with Lionsgate,” the cable network says in a statement released Tuesday morning. “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.”

Mad Men Star Hopes Fans Aren’t Left Waiting

As reported by sister site Deadline, Weiner is on the verge of inking a two-year deal worth close to $30 million, but is pushing back on three of AMC’s asks for Season 5: integrated product placement, the cutting of two minutes per episode (to accomodate increased ad time), and the elimination or reduction of two series regular cast members.

Weiner’s prospective payday would make him the highest-paid showrunner in the business, leading at least one peer to question his stance on the seemingly sensible sticking points. “You can’t ask a network for 10 million [dollars], then bitch when they want to expand their ad revenue source,” Sons of Anarchy boss Kurt Sutter opined on Twitter. “Whore or saint, pick one.”

And now here, you can pick one: