Tuesday, 29 March 2011

AMC's 'Mad Men' returning in 2012

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

AMC have confirmed that Mad Men will return for a fifth season in early-2012. It's believed the delay in production this year has stemmed from AMC's intention to make the series more profitable by:

  • Including product placement in episodes.
  • Shaving 2-minutes off each episode, for extra advertising.
  • Axing two regular characters, to save money.
It's believed that creator Matthew Weiner has been in a standoff with AMC over these proposed changes. It's not yet know if he's been successful in opposing them, or a compromise has been reached with the network. Whatever's happened, Mad Men will return next year -- hopefully with Weiner still attached, despite the fact his contract expired after season 4, so AMC could replace him. But they'd be very foolish to continue making the show without Weiner, as he's written/co-written the vast majority of episodes. Mad Men is entirely Weiner's vision, so I doubt a Weiner-less version would sustain the quality. Kind of like when Aaron Sorkin left The West Wing.

AMC, on plans for the fifth season:

"AMC has officially authorised production of season five of Mad Men, triggering our option with Lionsgate. 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."
Personally, I don't think AMC's demands are too unreasonable. Mad Men may be a critical darling that wins prestigious awards, but it's never been a ratings winner on either side of the Atlantic. Would fans really care if episode were a few shorter, and some characters (like Harry Crane?) became semi-regular? Probably not. The intention to involve product placement just confuses me, because I thought Mad Men already contained product placement in the ad campaigns its characters tackled...

What do you make of this news? Would you watch Mad Men if Matthew Weiner wasn't the showrunner? If so, do you think it could work? And do you think AMC's demands are justified, or do you agree that Weiner should fight to keep the status quo?