Show creator says he would have walked if not for deal protecting his creative freedom through seventh and final season
"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner says his new deal with AMC will protect his creative control through the show's seventh — and final — season.
"It really wasn’t about the money, and I would have walked away from the show if we didn’t reach the deal we did," Weiner told TheWrap. "I’m very happy with the way things are going to be."
AMC announced a deal Thursday to keep Weiner running the show through its fifth and sixth seasons, and that he also signed a deal with production company Lionsgate that could extend into a seventh season. Weiner says that season will be the show's last.
Also read: Mad Men Negotiations: Who Wants What
The deal will pay Weiner in the $30 million range for three years. It will not require him to cut cast for financial reasons — Weiner said previously he was asked to cut six — but he will cut characters when it makes sense creatively.
Weiner also told TheWrap that the show would not have to make product placements more explicit, as AMC had requested.
The two sides also compromised on episode length: AMC had demanded that episodes be cut two minutes to 45 minutes, which would allow for more ads. Weiner will deliver 47-minute episodes for season premieres and finales, but the 11 episodes in between will run for 45 minutes.
But there's a silver lining for "Mad Men" die-hards: Weiner told TheWrap that "final cut" versions of each episode will be available digitally eight days after they air, and that those will contain extra material and be at least 47 minutes long.
"I reserve the right to make them even longer," he joked.
"Mad Men," which has won three consecutive Emmys for best drama, has been AMC's flagship series since its debut, and was one of the first shows in AMC's highly successful return to scripted television in 2007. It provided a model for the later success of "Breaking Bad" and "The Walking Dead," the network's highest-rated series.
Weiner also said he was thrilled the show will return: "This is something I wrote in my basement with my kids crawling all over me," he said.
"Mad Men" will return to AMC early next year.