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:

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. TV Gord says:

    I’ve been bracing for it since I heard about the Breaking Bad delay. It’s all connected, I believe.

    • Rock Golf says:

      So with both Mad Men & Breaking Bad out of the running:

      …what drama series have just had their Emmy nom/win chances improve?

      For win: The Good Wife.
      For nom: Fringe?

      • Jacob says:

        Mad Men is eligible this year for its fourth season. It will also be eligible next year, if it airs in early 2012. The eligibility dates are usually from June to June.

        • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

          Yeah, that was the very first thing I looked into. MAD MEN’s Emmy eligibility is not affected this year or next. Runs May 31-June 1.

    • DAVID KAMPLING says:

      Just have Trudy kill Pete and Peggy… PROBLEM SOLVED! Don’t really need ANYONE besides Don, Roger, Joan and Ken in my opinion…

  2. Joe B. says:

    And this is all Kurt Sutter’s business because …

    Exactly. Now it doesn’t even need to be HIS show for him to get involved in the tsuris.

    By next year Kurt will be making changes to the TLC schedule to accommodate more American Chopper spinoffs.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      You don’t think that Kurt Sutter, as the (admittedly outspoken) showrunner of another acclaimed cable series, has a valid POV on Weiner’s holdout?

      • Joe B. says:

        No, showrunners don’t get to complain about other showrunners’ deals, not if they don’t want people getting in their business. Can you imagine Sutter sitting still while Mattie Weiner commented on the terms of his FX deal? Certainly not.

        • MCS says:

          Sure Sutter is maybe too outspoken, but he tells the truth and his opinion as an industry professional is certainly more important than yours.

      • Gonzalo says:

        Well said, Matt. It absolutely does, and it actually gives us (the regular non-showrunner viewers) a good counterpoint perspective on Matt Weiner’s negotiations. I love Mad Men, but from all accounts and indications, Weiner seems like he’s a bit deluded about how much money Mad Men actually makes.

        • Jacob says:

          Damon Lindelof also commented via Twitter, basically echoing Sutter’s comments. It’s nice to hear others weighing in, especially those who understand the process a little more intimately than most.

          • Laurel says:

            I agree.
            Kurt Sutter is a out spoken man however he has a reputation of saying it the way it REALLY is.
            He cuts through all the BS.
            And I think it is invaluable to hear from someone who IS a Showrunner and is familar with every aspect of the process .
            Not just a reporter.

            Personally I think Mattew Weiner should of settled this.
            30 Million Dollars from a Basic Cable Network is a huge amount of money and a significant raise.

            He is holding up hundreds of people and actors from working and fans from seeing a show that they enjoy.

        • susela says:

          Weiner is also deluded about how much he is worth.

          • JACKIE KOHN says:

            IN all of these negotiations is anyone thinking of the fans…… I dont think so. Its crazy to ask us to wait that long. What keeps you coming back is the story line, you want to see what happens. When it takes so long for the series to start up again that you forget the story line… doesnt matter so much. Weiner and AMC should remember that.

  3. TintedLenses says:

    Any word who the reduced/eliminated characters would be? Crane or Cosgrove, I could probably do without.

  4. Jon H says:

    HBO did this all the time with Sopranos and other shows. As long as it comes back, i’m not worried. Bummed. But hey, you want quality you sometimes wait.

  5. Shannon says:

    Ironic that these negotiations are playing out pretty much just like the in-show negotiations with investors play out: you’ll get to survive if you give us more ads in less time,
    and also fire several of your staff to cut costs.

  6. sandydc says:

    I think Matt Weiner has his head firmly up you know where, but he created a hit show. Not the greatest ever (as he seems to think) but a smart, challenging show that’s also a glossy soap opera. Not easy. However, I think his head placement is getting in the way of things. I, too, don’t think adding commercial time or product placement (the show is about advertising, for heaven’s sake) should have been a dealbreaker. Pull your head out, Matt. The air is much nicer out here. (And, gee, this guy who’s such an artiste is also responsible for season three. Not a good year.)

  7. My says:

    While I’m VERY sad that MM has been pushed back, I’m glad MW is sticking to his guns.

    • Keith says:

      And what “guns” are that? Asking for more money while forbidding the company from finding ways to pay for it? Yeah, brilliant *eyeroll*

  8. Sarah F says:

    Weiner’s position is totally valid – he doesn’t want to sell out with product placement or lose 2 minutes (that is 2 fewer minutes of Jon Hamm!) of his show for ads. AMC just lost a chunk of my respect.

    To reward our loyal patience, I think AMC should extend the season. 13 episodes has never been enough.

    • Melanie says:

      Is anyone sensing the irony that a showrunner who created a show about an ad agency is pushing back on product placement and commercial time?

    • Michael says:

      Nope, he doesn’t want to sell out! Good for him!!!

      Are you kidding? He’s ASKING for $30mil and isn’t willing to let AMC PAY for HIS salary. How else are they going to make money? It’s business. Now, I don’t watch Mad Men, but I know it doesn’t take place in current time so I don’t see how product placement will work. Maybe cigarettes? Timeless. But the rest are certainly doable.

    • Green says:

      You do realize what would happen if you increased the episode order? You would sacrifice quality for quantity and we would end up with junk like Grey’s Anatomy, House and other shows that churn out 24+ episodes a season.

    • silkrose says:

      How exactly do you place a product in a show that takes place in the sixties?

  9. Karlee says:

    It will be a long hot summer with out MM!

  10. Todd says:

    I really don’t care for this reporter on this site. That being said, the Facebook link that I saw for this article had a sub-headline that is misleading regarding this being a PR nightmare for Weiner? Your article doesn’t explain how this is bad for him at all. In fact, AMC seems to be coming out worse from what I am reading.

  11. Stacy says:

    So in Mad Men Years, it’ll be what…1976? All hail disco!

  12. LA says:

    It should be easy enough to dump Betty Francis. She was entirely unnecessary last season the little she was on. I didn’t miss her at all.

    • Steve Naismith says:

      Agreed – Betty should go. I don’t understand how January Jones has kept top billing in the opening credits while her character has seen progressively less involvement on the show. I’m far more interested in the business plotlines; less so on the personal relationships. I’d prefer to keep all of the minor business characters (Crane, Cosgrove, etc) and lose the personal ones (Betty, Henry Francis, etc).

      • maxwell's hammer says:

        Betty’s usefulness lies in her role as foil to Sally. Sally is utterly fascinating, and would not be nearly so without her horrible horrible mother.

  13. bob says:

    it seems ridiculous that weiner should be paid that much. does no one remember how much of a struggle it has been every year to get this show renewed in the first place? yes, count the emmy’s, golden globes, etc. but $30 million for a show that only, what, 3 million people watch? seems excessive.

    with that said–i can’t wait for mad men to come back!

  14. Ed says:

    I don’t see Weiner as being unreasonable with those “sticking points,” rather it’s a matter of sticking to artistic integrity on at least two of these points. To dictate what products get placed in the show (a practice I found irritating when poorly done and odious when done right) is to give the advertising department a say as to how the script flows.

    To allow the budgeting department to dictate who can and can’t be written into an episode also takes the writing out of the hands of the writer and puts it in the hands of the non-creative folks.

    I think a smartest compromise is to cede the third point and lessen the amount of air time (down to 46 minutes), as there’s already a consigned time limit that has to be reached each episode but offset that by increasing the episode count by one or two episodes and thereby increase the amount of salable air time over the course of the season.

    • Kate says:

      He probably wouldn’t have to cede any of those points if he were willing to reduce his astronomical fee. Unfortunately he wants it all, which isn’t going to happen. At the end of the day it’s his own ego standing in his way rather than any artistic integrity. I’m not sure why he thought his show would be above the same financial problems every other one has. They all stem from the same reason, each year the cast and crew gets more expensive. Unless the show itself is bringing in greater ad revenue (which let’s face it they aren’t on AMC with 3 mil viewers), then it’s time to work the product placement, ad time, or heaven forbid reduce cast expenses.

  15. gasagasagirl says:

    Very bummed. The kids will age in a year’s time, won’t they?

  16. C says:

    “on three of AMC’s asks”

    Argh argh the use of ask in this sentence makes my skin crawl. Demands maybe? Requirements? Anything but “asks”!

    I’m glad he’s pushing back on product placement, but I wish he could just take less money. If it was a question of his salary in exchange for 2 of his cast members and no product placement, I don’t know why it’s even a question. It affects the integrity of the show. :/

  17. R.Porter says:

    Definitely going with the creatives on this one. I love Mad Men, and want more not less of it.

  18. D. says:

    If the reason of the delay are what you’ve reported then I’m 100% “Team Matthew Weiner”

  19. Jack says:

    The article gives the general impression that Weiner’s creative integrity is being pressured by the suits. Not until the last paragraph is it clear that Weiner is the crux of the problem. Cable networks don’t shell out big money like network television. Will the cast be seeing any of the money? A year or two year ago they were vastly underpaid. Jon Hamm earned $75,000/episode.

  20. Ellen says:

    Well, $30 million sounds absolutely ludicrous for anyone’s pocket, but product placement in Mad Men also sounds ghastly, as does reducing a cast member’s screen time for any reason other than creative, so fingers crossed for a compromise both ways.

  21. Mandi says:

    I am Team Mad Men Fan. I am irked at both sides for their unwillingness to find a compromise to keep the show on track and returning for fans.

    If I have to choose I guess I would be Team AMC. If MW wants to be paid so much money then he needs to make some concessions to allow AMC to make the money to pay him.

  22. AlyssaG says:

    I can’t believe I am siding with the suits, but I would think Weiner’s demands could easily be achieved if he took a slight paycut. $20 million over two years, especially when the show does not have full 22 episode seasons, should be more than enough.

    • susela says:

      Ummm, since the deal is currently 30 million for three years, I don’t see how your suggestion—which keeps him at ten million a year—will save any money. Now, if he would go to 15 or 20 million for *three* years, that might help.

  23. Tasha says:

    What does AMC have to offer in the mean time. Breaking Bad is also delayed. The Killing hasn’t aired yet. There was Rubicon-which I loved- but that’s gone.

  24. john says:

    while id deal with cutting the 2 minutes, id fight for my regular cast members!

  25. Kate says:

    Team AMC! The show obviously does well with the critics but how can you justify being the highest paid show runner when you not only produce such a small season, but also a very limited audience. It would be one thing if it were a big network that could drum up the revenue through other programming, but I really doubt that any of AMCs other shows are bringing in enough excess revenue to support Mad Men too. I’m all for avoiding product placement or forced absences, but at the end of the day Weiner’s real sticking point is his own salary.

  26. Brian says:

    Normally product placement can come off really awkward. Two obvious ones that seem really forced are at Chuck and It’s Always Sunny. While I understand that the product placement is a big part of what kept Chuck around my point is that it can be done in better, less forced ways. I think thing about Mad Men that would at least make it intersting versus other shows is that fact that it’s a period piece. As long as it’s not forced it would be kind of cool so seem some old versions of current products around (which we’ve already seen with an old Ritz tin on the fridge throughout the 3rd season). If product placement is done in graceful manner then I don’t see why it’s something to get up in arms over.

    It would be a disappointment to lose cast members though. Hopefully they keep the members of the work environment around. There are some minor characters outside of the office that could probably be cut or better served in a reduced role but it’d be nice if they could keep people around.

  27. JAB says:

    I love love love Mad Men, but think that Matt Weiner is really full of himself. I know the show is his baby, but AMC has a business to run.

  28. Alex says:

    I am Team Weiner.

    The man is trying to stick up for the quality of his show. Product Placement any more transparent would take away from the cool quality of the show which is a huge part of its success. I don’t want to know they are selling goods. That is tacky.

    And only Matt Weiner should decide when an actor is non-essential. I still miss Sal! Matt Weiner has gotten rid of characters when they were no longer interesting. There is no dead weight on Mad Men. It is a brilliant show.

    The suits at Mad Men are going to ruin its appeal by trying to make too much money off of the show. Mad Men brings a lot of cache to their network that it absolutely did not have before. I changed cable providers recently and I chose the one that included AMC ONLY bc it airs Mad Men. I was tempted to go cheaper, but didn’t bc I love Mad Men. Now, the suits at AMC may not realize how much business they haven’t lost in this sucky economy if their subscriptions have remained steady but I think they probably would have lost a lot of subscribers if they didn’t have Mad Men on their schedule. They have the loyalty of Mad Men fans (for now at least) and while the numbers may not be huge, the value of the loyalty and desirable demos of those fans should be a big consideration as well.

    If AMC wants the loyalty of fans in desirable demos, then they can’t cheapen Mad Men as a product. It has given their network an identity they didn’t have before. Messing with Mad Men in any way that could ruin that would be shortsighted of them.

    • Aurore says:

      AMC isn’t trying to make mad men cheap, they are trying to make it profitable. Because they are the one taking chances. They are the one risking their money.
      Weiner ask for a huge raise and AMC is trying to find a way to grant it. Unfortunatly they don’t grow money tree yet…so they do the only thing they can reduce the cost(by getting rid of a couple of characters) and increase takings(with more ads).
      I don’t know if you noticed but :
      “Weiner’s prospective payday would make him the highest-paid showrunner in the business”
      Yes Mad Men is a great show, but viewers wise it’s not that impressive either. So I would say Weiner is the making unreasonable demands. He should be a bit more humble before his delusions of grandeur kill the show.

  29. RecceR says:

    I feel like Weiner is a manipulative and hypocritical jerk. Since this crap has been going on, he has been saying it’s out of his hands and everyone else wants a piece of the show because it’s doing so well. And now he makes a deal to be the highest paid show runner on TV and screws over his own show? While I can understand product placement could never work because it’s a time-era show. However, he should either cut back 2 minutes, let go 2 regulars, or do the responsible thing and take a lower pay than $30 million. While people are upset at Kurt Sutter’s comment, it is very true, even if it is not his business. Mad Men’s ratings are not amazingly high, only so-so. If they do not find a way to reduce the cost of production and the ratings do not do amazingly well for season 5, it may be the end for Mad Men. Other shows like Rome and Law & Order have been canceled because of high production costs and lack of reducing them. Now, I am not in the industry and I am sure no one else commenting here is either, but I study and follow it very well. If you take a large sum of money, but do not find a way to get it back, you’re in a great deal of trouble.

    As for Mad Men being pushed back, that was probably going to happen either way. The Killing took Breaking Bad’s time slot and Breaking Bad’s airing delay was announced last August. It was said that BB would air in July 2011, and Mad Men would be most-likely pushed back also. The Walking Dead comes in right after the July-Sept show and depending on when they air it; TDW will wrap up right before or after New Year’s. Since AMC does not air any shows from Jan-March, I’m going to assume Mad Men season 5 will air then, unless they want it to air in the spring or summer of 2012. I have no clue why AMC has to have their shows only air on Sunday nights; they could air their shows one other night if an overlap like this present one occurs. Overall, I do not care when season 5 airs, as long as the wait is not too long (1 year & ½ tops) and it actually happens.

  30. Ed says:

    Interesting how so many folks are complaining about MW’s salary as though that were a demand he was currently making or as though it were in contention. The fact is that the salary isn’t an issue and has already been agreed upon. The current negotiations are purely as to how AMC can exploit the property for additional revenue, not how they can come up with the money for a salary that’s already been factored into the equation.

    To keep things in perspectives, the folks who run AMC are getting salaries that, when benefits are factored in, surpass the number that MW will be receiving. In addition the revenues from the show when commercial sales, rerun fees and DVD sales (not to mention subscriptions to the network through cable outlets) are factored in already far exceed that number as well.

    Maybe MW’s salary is excessive, maybe not, but it certainly isn’t something that the folks at AMC haven’t already factored in as cost effective.

  31. Nina says:

    Team AMC all the way.
    A few years ago MW couldn’t find a home for Mad Men anywhere.
    Every network turned him down flat.
    NBC,HBO,Showtime,CBS etc.
    AMC gave MW and Mad Men a home and creative license. They gave the actors a raise and they gave MW a cosiderable raise.

    Mad Men currently runs 47 minutes , longer than any show on ad supported TV. A 2 minute trim is not an unreasonable request to help pay for the substanstial raise MW just received. $30 Million Dollars.

    Mad Men ALREADY does product placement so product integration shouldn’t be that big of sticking point.
    Not enough to Delay a show for a year.
    Seems like MW is not willing to compromise.

    • Supes says:

      This is exactly CORRECT.

      I’m so tired of those show creators like MW, Shonda Rhimes on ABC, etc who DICTATE to networks b/c they have created a HIT SHOW. The Network is your BOSS, work with them not against them. AMC gave MW and Mad Men a chance like the previous post here says and this is how he repays them and THE FANS? (who are going to have wait longer to see one of their favorite shows)

      Plus 30 million dollar contract is utterly ridiculous for an AMC show…even with all the acclaim the ratings are nothing compared to other shows on TV.

      Seems like he is drunk with power and trying to dictate to the network…the TV show creator god complex…epic fail!

  32. Kaiulani says:

    The only product placement would have to be for products that were around in the 60’s and still in their same packaging, etc… As for cast cuts they should dump Henry, Jane, some of the copy staff and Peggy’s friends.

  33. Matt says:

    How the hell can anybody side with Weiner after reading this? The man wanted $30 million for two years for a show, while it is great and well respected, at best a modest hit when it it comes to ratings. How the hell does he expect them to pay him that kind of money without finding other ways to gain or save revenue?! Maybe MW shouldn’t be making such ridiculous demands for himself and then none of this is an issue. There is no way he deserves $15 mil a year.

    • Ed says:

      Again, MW was courted and offered the money in exchange for his services. His stance is that he should share in the profits of his work to a greater extent while still having it be very profitable to the network after he takes his cut, and that they shouldn’t interfere with the creative process that made the show a hit.

      Siding with AMC is the same as siding with poor little billionaires who piss and moan when the workers want a greater share and a say in the work conditions of the work they do.

  34. Teresa says:



  35. yoda-of-hearts says:

    You have to be kidding. I can’t vote either way! Don’t they realize they work for US??? We pay and they benefit. Don’t watch the show.

  36. Kathy says:

    I agree with Matthew. Product placement mmmmm.

  37. ASH says:

    Geepers…what the hell is this delay going to do to the timeline? You’d think they’d have to push it forward, right? Those “Sally” and “Bobby” (not to mention Baby Gene) actors aren’t getting any younger. Are they going to force poor Sally into a corset to hide her budding chest or something?

    As for the sticking points…why can’t Weiner be done with AMC altogether and just take the show to HBO or Showtime where it *should* have been welcome in the first place? (Still can’t believe HBO turned this show down initially). He’d get his money and his artistic integrity.

    Still…I wonder which series regulars they’re targeting. Methinks January Jones has to be one of them.

  38. susela says:

    I agree with Kurt Sutter. Matthew Weiner is casting himself as some heroic savior of the show’s artistic integrity, but the fact remains that they wouldn’t need cost-cutting measures if he wasn’t so greedy. He needs to get over himself.

  39. wickEd says:

    I seem to recall just how much MW talked about how AMC/cable gives the show creative license that big studios would not.
    What I gather from this latest news is that procuring money for one self is also something that dictates creative solutions.

    Dont get me wrong, he should get all the money he wants, but his “I create from poetic freedom” argument should be laughed at in the future.

    And, one more thing, are you all trying to tell me there WASNT any product placement so far? Procter&Gamble and Luckies and such payed nothing?

  40. lar da bull says:

    All I know is that I love Mad Men.iam all man but I think I wld do Don.especially if he got me drunk

  41. S. Lapich says:

    Mad Men is the best show ever, the anticipation makes me happy. I look forward to it; we’ve already been waiting almost a year. It always airs the week of my sons Birthday July 25th. :( This delay is bumming my joy (just a bit, my son delights me)! Anyway… I will be happy whenever it airs but I wish it were next weekend.

  42. Krellman says:

    I voted for Weiner, but truthfully this is like the debt crisis debates. You really cant support either side completely because they both have to benefit in order for this thing to work correctly. If MM stays off air for too long, viewers will lose focus and won’t care anymore. MM will be history. AMC OTOH will live on, find other shows and prosper to a greater or lesser degree. I think AMC should give Weiner everything he wants NOW while his show is a hit because people are fickle and it won’t last forever. If viewership falls off, thats the time for AMC to start making demands of Weiner. If Weiner can take a big salary and make the worlds best TV show, it will be a payday for everyone.

  43. new2ak says:

    I REALLY want Mad men to come back SOON

    Just get the show back ON TV I live for this show–
    Its the only intelligent writing on TV come on you wanks bring it back now
    and bring back Sal too geez
    lESS Peter (shudder) what a creep he is

  44. smartman says:

    More product placement and ads, … it takes place in the 60’s what kind of product placement are they talking about? And killing off 2 cast members while shorting each episode by 2 minutes. I want to tell AMC where they can put their suggestions.

    Leave Mad Men alone

  45. That Guy says:

    Too late. We already don’t care anymore. NEXT!