Mad Men Boss Matthew Weiner Talks Season 5 Delay, Possible Don/Betty Reunion

Who’s to blame for Mad Men‘s much-delayed fifth season? Not series creator Matthew Weiner, according to, well, series creator Matthew Weiner. 

“The scheduling of the show – not being on this year – that’s part of the network plan,” Weiner told a packed crowd at Wednesday’s LA Times: The Envelope Emmy panel in Los Angeles. “Breaking Bad was always going on in the summer. … That’s the way they do things.”

After protracted contract talks between AMC, production studio Lionsgate and Weiner, AMC announced that the series — which has premiered during the summer for the past four seasons — would not return until early 2012 “due to ongoing, key non-cast negotiations.” Weiner, however, insisted “that I have done everything in my power to get the show on this year.”

He described the contract negotiations as “bad, but it worked out… It was public, and there was no reason for that. But that’s what happens. The most important things for me are that after it’s over, I get to go back to work and that we get to do three more years of the show.”

As for what next season holds for Don Draper and the rest of his family and coworkers, Weiner was tight-lipped as usual. “We just started working [in the writers room] about three weeks ago,” he stated. “We have a bunch of ideas on the board that I was super excited about 48 hours ago and today we sat around talking about how crappy it is. So we’re right on schedule.”

Might a reunion for newly engaged Don and ex-wife Betty, who shared an unusually friendly moment in last season’s finale, be in the cards?  “I don’t know what it is for them in the future,” he replied. “They had a rough year. Don was not good on his own. That’s part of why he proposed to Megan.” Star Jon Hamm added that Don and Betty are “inextricably linked” by family and history, adding,“They will never not be part of one another’s lives.”

Which, if any, historical events will shape the new season also remains a mystery. “The show is not a history lesson,” emphasized Weiner. “The show will be about the next part of these people’s lives and what’s going on in the world will impact them the way things impact us.”

One thing is for certain – Hamm will direct the Season 5 premiere, as TVLine first reported. Weiner feels confident that his leading man is the right guy for the job.

“Jon is already involved very much in every aspect of the show,” he said. “He’s on set as much as the camera is. I’m glad that he asked to do it, and we’re thrilled to have him do it.”

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27 Comments
  1. Todd says:

    No matter how he tries to spin it, the whole fiasco is a huge mistake for him and the network. Fans are upset, and I’m sure an already small audience will shrink even more after the long delay.

    • NickC says:

      No REAL fan will care about all the drama as soon as the first ep airs.It sucks it is taking so long but give me break.Fans will be back and so will new ones becauseMADMEN is one of the best shows ever…

    • Melanie says:

      I completely disagree. I couldn’t care less about the behind-the-scenes politics of showrunning. It’s a great tv show and that’s why I tune in every week. Not because I like the network or the production company or the show runners.

    • Rowan says:

      So you think that Wiener’s decision to stand firm and not have major cast cuts, inappropriate product placement and more commercials (so less story) makes him look bad? He took a pay cut so actors wouldn’t lose their jobs. If you think that makes someone look bad, your logic is not like out earth logic.

    • Pam says:

      such a great show – wish it would air sooner but…

      i agree, so good it’ll be worth the wait..

  2. Julie McRoyall says:

    I agree Such a great series that not enough people watch already. I’m in the UK where the BBC used to show it on BBC 4 and not the main channel. Sky now have the rights so hopefully more viewers will watch over here. Superb drama and I just love the Don Draper character. I guess I have to wait even longer now to see the next series

  3. xforce11 says:

    Any Mad Men news is welcome. Time for a re-watch to tide us over.

  4. annie says:

    What about January Jones’s pregnancy?

    • Michelle R says:

      She should be unpregnant by then, depending on when they start — at most, she’s out of the first few episodes, which would be no different from last season.

  5. Dustin says:

    Hey idiot, put up a spoiler alert disclaimer. Thanks for ruining the finale for me.

    • Dick Whitman says:

      Bitch, please.

      Can you read? The title itself implies spoilers (“Talks Season 5 Delay, Possible Don/Betty Reunion”). Did you want a “OMGZZZ SPOILER ALERT!!!11!!1!!!”?

    • Jim Simpson says:

      The season four finale of Mad Men aired October 17 of last year. How long would you have Vlada Gelman or any other writer go without being allowed to disclose key plot points from last season?

      If you haven’t watched Season 4 yet, then you probably shouldn’t be reading any articles which are about Season 5. The fact that you got spoiled is totally on you.

  6. scarlett says:

    Mad Men one of best shows EVER. But, last year, it drifted. Don + Betty need to come back *toward* each other. Show will suffer without that s. tension. Hope we get back to the feeling of seasons 1 + 2.

    • HollowayNotHarris says:

      No Don and Betty do NOT need to get back together. I can’t live through another season of that disastrous marriage. Season 3, while awesome in a lot of ways, was tedious and traumatizing enough!

  7. Michelle R says:

    I’m one of the rare Betty fans, but those two are not good for each other, at all. Of course, I doubt Megan is what he needs either.

  8. Gary says:

    Will be interesting to see how the summer of 1967 (Summer of Love)is portrayed on the show. I would guess that is a season or two away. Early women’s lib and short skirts. Changes in the workplace. Something to look forward to.

  9. Mikey M says:

    Stopped watching after the Gay guy left. I really wanted to see more of that story.

  10. Jen says:

    I loved that moment between Don and Betty in the finale and am hoping that leads to an eventual reunion. Jon and January just have so much chemistry that they suck me right in. It would be nice if Don finally decides to change his womanizing ways for Betty and not some other woman. Plus Betty is still so in love with him and looked like she was ready to jump at the chance to be with him again and totally forgetting Henry in that last scene of the finale. I can’t wait for the next season to start. This is the best show on tv by far!

  11. Veronica says:

    I’ve watched faithfully since season one,and cannot wait until the series returns. Now, will someone refresh me on that final Don and Betty scene? Apparently, I’m suffering from memory loss!

  12. anna says:

    I hope Don and Betty have an affair next season.

    • Erica says:

      I would actually really enjoy that. I know that a lot of people think that they are a disaster together, but little moments like the one at the end of the season four finale make me ache for their potential. I really want them to work things out.

  13. IdolIdol says:

    Bring Sal Romano back!!

  14. gary says:

    More Megan, less Betty. Jessica Pare is the most beautiful woman on the show (edging out Alison Brie) and I am in love with her character.

    • nad says:

      Yes indeed, she’s an absolutely a beautiful lady..a fresh look, classy, young but sensible and the most unique among Don’s paramours, in ‘Tomorrowland’ says it all..luv & very much looking forward to see her more in the new season..probably some combination character of Jackie Kennedy & Carla Bruni perhaps..??..:)

  15. c'est moi says:

    no to betty reunion. no to an affair between betty and don. and yes yes yes to the new marriage. i love how he feels with her. her impact on him… do you remember that scene with her, don and his kids at the restaurant and the kids spilled their shake and don was about to lose it, but he saw how megan responded and so he calmed down – totally taken aback by her ease. she’s not high strung or uptight. betty is really scary and has this pent up rage in her – it’s in her eyyyyyes! look in her eyes!

    and i am desperate for the show to return, and hey if it starts in 2012, so be it! :D

    and i agree, i looooooooooooove sal. why ain’t he on!! :/

  16. Pete says:

    Can’t wait for Mad Men to be back…….BUT, Those marvelous people at Sky have decided to hide it away from a large proportion of people by putting it on Sky Atlantic! There are thousands of people out there that, like me, subscribe to Virgin, and consequently, I will miss out unless I stream it illegally, or wait patiently for it to come out on DVD (not likely!). Honestly Sky, I don’t mind paying a little extra to have Atlantic, your missing a helluva trick there!!!!!!

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