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Smoke 'Em if You Got 'Em: AMC, Weiner Reach Multi-Year Mad Men Deal

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The turbulence and unrest of the 1960s are finally over—the turbulence and unrest, that is, having to do with Mad Men‘s contract renewal negotiations with AMC. The network announced today that it struck a deal with Matthew Weiner for seasons five and six of the show, while Weiner also signed with Lionsgate studio for a possible seventh season.

[Update: And that will be all, it looks like. Weiner is saying that he plans to end the show after seven seasons. Of course, fans of The Sopranos, where Weiner got its start, will remember that declarations like that have a way of getting extended—though there is only so much 1960s left.]

The everybody’s-happy announcement did not disclose terms of the deal, which had been hung up over reported requests for budget cuts, possible product integrations and a shorter running time to accommodate more commercials. But from Weiner’s delighted tone therein, one suspects they were resolved to his satisfaction.

A report at Deadline.com says that the show will keeps its full 47 minute running time for the premiere and finale, with other episodes shaved by two minutes (but with the option of a longer cut for on-demand airing). And no cast cuts. And the reported pay bump for Weiner, reportedly up to $30 million. Not a shabby deal, after all, for a critical darling, but one with ratings not close to the network’s The Walking Dead.

Looks like you’ll still need to wait until 2012 for new episodes, though. And frankly, I have to wonder how badly AMC ever wanted the show to come back before 2012: It already has Breaking Bad planned for summer, then Walking Dead in the fall, so it would have needed to double up.

In the statement, Weiner thanked fans for supporting the show and AMC and Lionsgate for preserving its artistic integrity. And, you know, his aircraft hangar full of money.

I’ll update if any important details emerge. In the meantime, the statement:


New York – March 31, 2011 – AMC and Lionsgate today announced the
return of the iconic series “Mad Men” for seasons five and six with
series creator Matthew Weiner back on board as showrunner.
Concurrently, it was announced that Weiner has signed a new long-term
deal with Lionsgate, extending into a possible seventh season. The
announcements were made by Charlie Collier, president of AMC, and Kevin
Beggs, president of Lionsgate Television Group.

When AMC debuted “Mad Men” in July 2007 it quickly became one of
the most talked about series on television. Set in 1960s New York,
“Mad Men” is a sexy and provocative original drama that follows
the lives of the ruthlessly competitive men and women of Madison Avenue
advertising. Produced by Lionsgate, “Mad Men” has made television
history as the only cable series to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding
Drama and the Golden Globe for Best Television Series-Drama for three
consecutive years.

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

“AMC’s original programming began with a mission to create bold
storytelling of the highest quality, and ‘Mad Men’ was the perfect
expression of that commitment. We’ve been proud to support this show
from the day we read Matt’s ground-breaking pilot script and have loved
building it with Matt and Lionsgate into the cultural phenomenon it has
become,” said Collier. “For everyone involved in the show and its
passionate fans, we are thrilled to announce that the series will
continue on AMC under the exceptional vision of Matt Weiner.”

“We are proud to continue our successful relationships with AMC and
the brilliantly talented Matt Weiner, whose vision has created one of
the most distinguished series on television,” said Beggs. “We also
appreciate the passion and patience of ‘Mad Men’ fans around the
world who have been awaiting this good news, and we believe they will be
rewarded with many more seasons of this extraordinary and groundbreaking