Say it ain’t so! Rumors are flying that the fifth season of AMC’s Mad Men may not have its debut until later in 2011 or possibly 2012 – an incredibly long time for fans to wait, as the show usually debuts in the summertime.
Production for a new season would normally start about now, but AMC has still not struck a new deal with the studio that makes the show – Lionsgate – nor has Lionsgate struck a new deal with the series’ creator, Matthew Weiner.
Weiner has said he wants the show to continue, and AMC has pledged that it will definitely return, so why the wait? Money.
Weiner told Entertainment Weekly in January, referring to AMC and Lionsgate: “They are fighting over a very lucrative property, and who is going to pay for it to get made; it’s one of the biggest perils of success – everyone wants a piece of it now, and they are fighting over who is gonna get the biggest chunk.”
While negotiations of this kind are not uncommon, it is rare for them to drag out this long and potentially postpone the air dates. People involved in the talks suggested that deals may be imminent this week (I’m crossing my fingers!), but even that may not be early enough to ensure its summertime start.
This isn’t the first time negotiations for Mad Men have dragged out – the show was held up once before, after the second season in October 2008. At that time, contracts were settled by January 2009. This time around, however, the negotiations have been going on for, well, almost forever – since before the fourth season even had its premiere.
In the meantime, the show’s actors are in a bind – John Slattery, who plays Roger Sterling, remarked to reporters at the premiere of his new film The Adjustment Bureau, “I’m looking for a job.”
While Lionsgate has renewed the actors’ contracts, scripts need to be written for them to go back to work, and there’s no indication that script-writing is underway.
Currently, AMC pays more than $2 million per episode for Mad Men, and surely, Lionsgate wants more than that, since Mad Men helped build AMC into a trusted home for quality cable programming. Still, the channel doesn’t rely as heavily on Mad Men as it once did – with hit shows like Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, and its upcoming new feature, The Killing, which debuts April 3, it’s apparent that Mad Men doesn’t need to be as much a priority for the network as it once was.
Still, I can only hope that the new season premieres this summer. Given that AMC only airs its original programming on Sunday nights, the new season will either have to come out right at the end of The Killing’s run, or it will have to wait until after the second season of The Walking Dead. Sigh...
Categories: On TV
Posted by Jena
3/22/2011 3:57 PM