Update: Alright, I’m really serious about that scotch now. Someone get me a glass because this is getting ridiculous. As we previously reported, AMC green-lighted Mad Men for season five, set to air in 2012. That good news comes at the cost of Matthew Weiner, who is not caving to the channel’s demands. Whether or not he agrees, the cable network is determined to move on with the show, but at an even greater cost than any of us anticipated. Earlier today, HuffPo reported that AMC wanted two main actors cut, now The Wrap says that they’ve asked for SIX to get the axe. As an avid fan, I have to say I don’t think that’s even possible to do without killing the show. It’s a character-driven show and without the characters we know and love, where the hell do they think this show is going to go? It will kill everything its got going for it.
Without the ensemble the show doesn’t work and with many of the actors like Jon Hamm, January Jones, John Slattery, Christina Hendricks, the list goes on and on, nabbing roles in bigger projects I highly doubt they’d stick around for meager paychecks on a show that seems to be chucking quality out the window in favor of profits. What I don’t understand is why AMC seems to be determined to kill the best thing that ever happened to them. Were it not for Mad Men, they wouldn’t have the original programming they have now. They would not be known for making some of the best television out there. This is has been going on for months and I think all fans are at their wits’ ends so I’m just going to come out and say it: this is just plain crazy.
Earlier: I guess all that pressure from angry fans did AMC a favor because almost as suddenly as the news hit that Mad Men could be over, EW reported that in fact the show has been green-lighted for a 5th season due in 2012. So, the last few MONTHS of panic are over. We can breath easy now. I need a drink. It’s not even noon. Someone give me a scotch on the rocks to celebrate.
Well, all that reassurance from the past few weeks is now shot to hell. Apparently, while Mad Men is a complete cultural icon, it’s still not raking in the bucks that AMC hoped to see. As we reported earlier, all parties were extremely close to closing a deal on a two year contract, but apparently there were some conditions attached to that contract that made creator Matthew Wiener want to throw a glass of scotch at the wall. Okay, he didn’t actually do that — but it would be pretty badass if he did. Word has it that AMC made some serious creative demands that Weiner wasn’t comfortable with, namely cutting two of the actors from the ensemble cast and cutting each episode down by two minutes to allow for more advertising. AMC also wanted to make room for advertising modern products in a clever way within the show itself.
According to the Huffington Post, Wiener will not accept these demands, yet AMC will not move forward without them. It seems that we may be witnessing a stalemate here and sadly the result could be the loss of one of the best shows on television in recent years. I want the show to come back just as much as the rest of us, but some of these reported demands could be seriously detrimental to the integrity and quality of the program. Which is worse? No Mad Men? Or a sponsor-riddled version of Mad Men that’s missing two characters out of a fantastic ensemble that really can’t stand to lose anyone? The show’s really put in a corner here and even if it comes back, my guess is that the Mad Men we know and love will be defunct.