‘Mad Men’ Picks Streaming Platforms, Will Put Disclaimer Before Season 3 Episode With Blackface Scene

Lionsgate series to stream on Amazon’s IMDb TV in the U.S. this summer, AMC gets TV rights back in the fall

Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

Lionsgate has signed a new licensing deal for “Mad Men,” that will see the 1960s-era drama about ad agency executives head to Amazon’s free streaming service, IMDb TV.

The multi-Emmy drama will be available exclusively on the service beginning July 15 — it will launch on Amazon Prime internationally beginning Friday. In October, AMC will regain rights to air the series on both TV and streaming; “Mad Men” last aired the series during its seven-season run from 2007-2015. StarzPlay will also stream the series in its European and Latin American markets beginning in October as well. It will remain on IMDb TV as well.

“Mad Men” had been previously been available on Netflix but left the service last month.

“‘Mad Men’ is an evergreen property whose appeal has continued to grow over the years, and we’re pleased to collaborate with a diverse alliance of exceptional partners to bring it to a global audience,” said Lionsgate President of Worldwide Television & Digital Distribution Jim Packer.  “This comprehensive and multifaceted agreement brings together partners from every part of the content ecosystem, and it allows a whole new generation of fans to enjoy one of the greatest television series ever made, whether they’re reuniting with the show as an old friend or discovering ‘Mad Men’ for the first time.”

“‘Mad Men’ launched on AMC in 2007 and became the definition of ‘talked-about-television’ – and for our company began a period of distinction and impact that continues to this day,” added AMC Networks chief operating officer Ed Carroll. “We are so pleased to bring ‘Mad Men’ home to AMC, and again be able to share these unforgettable characters and this nuanced and exceptional storytelling with fans, new and old, on a variety of platforms starting this fall.”

“Mad Men” will also feature a special title card that will run before a Season 3 episode that features a character in blackface. The third episode of that season, “My Old Kentucky Home,” features Roger Sterling (John Slattery) dressed in blackface, singing the title song to his new, twenty-something wife.

Here is the language that will now precede that episode:

This episode contains disturbing images related to race in America. One of the characters is shown in blackface as part of an episode that shows how commonplace racism was in America in 1963. In its reliance on historical authenticity, the series producers are committed to exposing the injustices and inequities within our society that continue to this day so we can examine even the most painful parts of our history in order to reflect on who we are today and who we want to become. We are therefore presenting the original episode in its entirety.

The decision by Lionsgate to put the episode in historical context, rather than to pull it as other series like “Scrubs” and “30 Rock” have done, is similar to how HBO Max handled “Gone With the Wind.” The 1939 film was pulled from the streaming service for two weeks and returned with a video disclaimer, as well as separate videos that put the film in historical context.