Mad Men Creator Inks Long-term Deal, Show Renewed Through Season 6, Cast Cuts Averted

Following some rather public negotiations, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner has inked a long-term deal with AMC and Lionsgate, while the Emmy-winning drama series itself has been renewed for not just one but two more seasons.

Weiner’s new pact keeps him on board as Mad Men‘s show runner through both Season 5 (to premiere in early 2012) and Season 6, and even a possible Season 7.

During the aforementioned negotiations, it was revealed that AMC had asked Weiner for three concessions: more integrated product placement, the shaving of two minutes off each episode to allow added commercial time, and the cutting of two series regular cast members.

First and foremost, there will be no cast cuts, Deadline reports. As for running time, the Season 5 premiere and finale will remain 47 minutes in length, while Weiner has the option to submit two cuts of the other 11 episodes — a 45-minute edit for broadcast, and a 47-minute version for other platforms (e.g. VOD). Product placement will be accommodated when organic to storyline and under Weiner’s complete creative control.

“I want to thank all of our wonderful fans for their support,” Weiner said in a statement. “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.”

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  1. ruthie says:

    unless this is an april fools, in which case i will be SUPER bummed.

  2. xforce11 says:

    Good news! Now if we could get a time line on when it will come out in 2012.

  3. steph says:

    Chuck has more viewers than Mad Men. As does V.

    • erica says:

      Yes but both of those shows are on network/broadcast tv while mad men is on cable. Mad men does very well for cable numbers.

      • Rowan says:

        Mad Men doesn’t do ‘very well’ for cable numbers, but it does okay. The show is a critical darling more than anything else and that’s fine. It raises up the quality of the network and they are trying to build a brand that isn’t based on reruns of old shows and edited films. This show is the benchmark for quality on TV at the moment.

    • Rowan says:

      You can’t compare numbers from broadcast TV (which is free and available to all) to basic cable channels. The amount of viewers per each type of network is vastly different.

    • Gavin says:

      Demographics: People who watch Chuck buy $5 footlongs. People who watch Madmen buy BMW’s.

      • True Boardman says:

        I watch mad men and drive a Saturn. I work on chuck, do not watch it and hate subway.

      • Travis says:

        Wow. That was quite the arrogant post (not to mention its lack of depth of contribution). If you made an honest mistake in tone (happens to all of us from time to time), fair enough, but you need to at least explain that your intent was merely to communicate the typical demographic discrepancy between cable and network viewership. If your comment was meant as it came off, well, no response from me or anyone else here is going to reach you. Surely you are safely protected from the real world and humility, driving your “drop top” BMW from Malibu to Wilshire each day, hair slicked back, Bluetooth in ear, maybe even popped up collar when you’re really in form, on your way to a soul-less job as a wanna-be producer. It’s cool, though. I’m sure you drop the spare nickel you get back from the cashier who takes your frappuccino order each day in the homeless dude’s cup. Just make sure you mark that as a write-off on your annual tax return.

  4. Amber says:

    I am really glad for this, but are they really going to ax two regular cast members? I can’t think of a single expendable character on that show, and it frightens me to think who they could lose.

    • Amber says:

      Ah, I see now there won’t be any cast cuts. Yay! Did I miss this before or was it added after I commented? Hmm.

  5. Moht says:

    Mad Men is on a cable channel, not on a network.

  6. tommy j says:

    Network vs. Cable? Immaterial. Everyone gets nbc and abc and amc. All are available in basic cable. If you’re reading this website, you at least have basic cable. More people watch other shows. Mad Men is a niche show that is excellent, but not many people watch. I like Mad Men, but the cable vs network ratings argument irks me. Their potential audience is not that different.

    • Eli says:

      I do not have basic cable. Only network tv. I have to watch Mad Men on DVD.

    • Erica says:

      I had basic cable and did not get AMC or FX for that matter. It was ridiculous but I had no other options in my apartment complex last year. So this is not entirely true. But also cable does not have the same audience as network. Strange as it may seem there are still quite a few people out there that don’t have cable.

    • Rowan says:

      If someone is reading about Mad Med they must have cable? What kind of logic is that? There are plenty of people without basic cable and some cable companies don’t carry AMC.

      The fact that you think that broadcast TV vs. cable ratings are immaterial shows me you know nothing about ratings.

      This is not written as a niche show. Fairly Legal a is a niche show (for women and gay guys). The Colbert Report is a niche show (for libs). Robot Chicken is a niche show (for 18-34 year old men – yes, women do watch and love the show, but they are far from the core audience). Mad Men is a drama that covers two of the four quadrants (all men, all women) and is written with amazing quality and is accessible to all emotionally. This is hardly a niche show.

    • RecceR says:

      Just a tid-bit of info, even if you do not get all basic cable channels (MTV, Syfy, TNT, USA, AMC). You can still watch their shows if you get OnDemand, i had several friends who had that and its not too bad.

  7. done with this says:

    So why exactly can’t they start writing and filming now? What is the point of waiting a year for a show to come back? By then we won’t even care.

    • Kristen says:

      Maybe you won’t care but a lot of other people will. I don’t want to wait a whole year either but I’d rather them take the time to make Season 5 great, rather than throw something together just so we can watch it sooner.

    • erica says:

      I will!!!

    • Amber says:

      It surprised me a bit too that it would take a whole year to get new episodes out, and it made me wonder if it always takes them so long to create a season. The commentaries on previous season DVDs make it seem like they only have a couple of months to do most of the filming. But, whatever. I’ll still care. I’ll definitely care.

      • Mike says:

        Think about how long production takes for a 2 hour movie. It takes 1-2 years. Shows have much more than 2 hours of programing, and much less time to put it together. I am thankful for the wait because I know that it will be a quality product.

  8. Lisa says:

    YEAH.. Now they all need to get to WORK. We are waiting, people!!!

  9. Rowan says:

    Weiner and his reps were VERY smart to go public with what the hold up really was and that it wasn’t about paying him more, but saving cast members, limiting product placement and not losing time to commercials. I think the agreement is fair. Losing 2 minutes per episode is better than losing two cast members and ridiculous product placement like they do on FOX with them writing in ads for cars when the characters drive somewhere. If it’s not organic then it ruins the show for me.

    That’s one of the things I like about CHUCK. All the product placement is completely organic to the show – and the Subway placement is so over the top obvious, it makes the moment even funnier.

    • Dirk says:

      I agree with this post. Although, for me, the best product placement will still be Burger King on Arrested Development.

  10. Dirk says:

    This seems to be a pretty good compromise. I’m glad that AMC showed a vote of confidence by renewing through season 6. Not that I was particularly worried about that. Hopefully this gives them the chance to pull off an even larger storyline without having to worry about not finishing it.

  11. RecceR says:

    Great news, I knew the negotiations would wrap up soon. If you want to know why they cannot just write and film season 5 and air it in June, please read what I have said.
    The fact of the matter is the writers most likely have not even brainstormed for the fifth season, let alone have full episode scripts written. From what I heard, they go into production/filming sometime this summer. And while they will probably have filmed the majority of the season before it even comes close to airing, AMC does not air shows on nights other than Sundays. Their schedule is already planned out until early 2012, which is why they said MM s5 will air then.

    So while the actual production of a show like Mad Men (only being 13 episodes) takes about 3-4 months, it is a number of factors that people writing up the articles do not seem to care to mention. Nothing has been written yet due to the negotiations and AMC already has other shows scheduled in the Sunday @ 10pm slot from now through early 2012.

    I honestly do not care about waiting because as long as they do a great job, I can take the wait.

    • Unhappy camper says:

      I appreciate your response but I disagree with the network on this. Networks yank shows and change the schedules all the time. If their motive really is having other shows scheduled for Sunday nights, that is laziness and BS. They should have found a way to put on new MM shows in the fall.

      • Dwigt says:

        AMC can’t afford canceling shows they have produced in the middle of a season. After the pilot, they order a whole season, as it allows production costs per episode to be lower. If the show flops (as did Rubicon) they’ll still air everything because it’s still better than reruns and they don’t have another show ready at the time.

  12. RicardoCabeza says:

    Thanks for nothing you bunch of asses now summer is screwed.

  13. Teresa says:

    Cutting of two series regular cast members? oh no… :(

  14. Gary says:

    Guess I will be watching Mad Men using Video On Demand instead of AMC to get the uncut version of 11 of the episodes.

  15. Faye Miller's Imaginary Husband says:

    The two cast members to be cut will be among the following….

    Roger Sterling (with Lucky Strike gone, will he fade away or bounce back?)
    Henry Francis or Greg Harris (a major death on the show is LONG overdue)
    Bert Cooper (he retired/quit at end of season 4)
    Trudy’s father (unlikely, as it would mirror the Grandpa Gene/Baby Gene transition)

    In season 4 we lost Carla, Anna and Alison – time to even the score and lose some fellas.

    • WayneINNYC says:

      Later in the article it says that there are no cast cuts. They just mentioned that the network *wanted* two cast members cut. The power of negotiation is a wonderful thing.

  16. MAJP says:

    Bring back Sal! Get him to direct the Samsonite “elephant” commercial!