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.”