First came the announcement that Mad Men will not return to AMC until March 2012 at the earliest. Then came the scuttlebutt surrounding the contract negotiations between AMC and executive producer/series creator Matthew Weiner. Many worried that the Emmy-darling would enter its fifth season without Weiner at the helm. Fortunately, Weiner reached a deal with AMC last week, ensuring that he’d be with the show for the next two seasons with the possibility of the third.
That means that there will be three more seasons of Mad Men – no more, no less – should Weiner have his say. Weiner told TV Guide:
“I think that's how long the story is. I'm not The Simpsons. They're amazing. I don't know how they do it. I look at TV shows that I admire, and I think this is the length that they should be. At a certain point you're driven to a desire not to repeat yourself. I want the show to end before the machinery has worn out.”
Weiner also explained to TV Guide that one of his main disputes with AMC was episode length. Going forth, AMC will air a 47-minute opener and finale for each season, with other episodes clocking in at 45 minutes. I can see why AMC wants to trim episode length. That’s thirteen to fifteen minutes of ad time on one of television’s most popular shows. Weiner will likely have “producer’s cuts” ready for DVD release.
Before anyone starts whining about the two minutes of sexy drinking and misogyny that AMC is cutting out for commercials, consider that the ad revenue should help maintain the production values that have contributed to Mad Men’s unique aesthetic. At least, they should – theoretically.
In any event, shooting should start this July. You may need to postpone your Draper-inspired cocktail parties, but you needn’t cancel them.