AMC gave the go-ahead for season five of Mad Men some time ago but negotiations, first with the studio, and now with creator Matthew Weiner have held things up. For the first time, AMC has acknowledged the delay will mean the show won’t be back this summer.
A new statement reads, “AMC has officially authorized production of season 5 of Mad Men, triggering our option with Lionsgate (Mad Men’s production company). 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.”
Supposedly negotiations between Lionsgate, AMC, and Weiner have hit a snag in recent days. They’ve apparently offered Weiner $30 million to continue as showrunner for three seasons. In return, they’ve asked him for three concessions which have become sticking points: to trim about two minutes of each episode’s running time (so that the cable channel can sell more commercials), additional product placement (which has been part of the series since season one), and cutting two regular castmembers.
The Wrap reports that a source close to the negotiations says that they are actually asking for six castmembers to be cut over the course of the next three seasons, losing two each year.
Weiner confirmed that he was being asked to cut episode running times and some castmembers and claimed that this would make Mad Men “a different show.” He said, “I don’t understand why, with all of the success of the show, they suddenly need to change it.”
Two other prominent showrunners tweeted about Weiner’s negotiations today and were hardly understanding of their comrade.
The delay in production has caused some havoc for the castmembers who are contractually obligated to the series. They can’t take on other projects because they have to keep their schedule open for production and they aren’t getting paid for Mad Men either.
What do you think? Is Weiner being unreasonable? Which castmembers could you stand to lose?