On Thursday, Lionsgate announced that that “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner has inked a deal to helm three more seasons of the show. Earlier in the week, the two sides seemed far apart, as the studio and AMC announced a fifth season beginning early next year but were silent about Weiner’s involvement. For his part, Weiner spoke of wanting to maintain the artistic integrity of the three-time Emmy winner for Best Drama Series.
Weiner has had quite the hand in the success of the show, receiving a writing credit on three-quarters of the 52 episodes over the first four seasons. The most recent run of the show is in contention at this year’s Emmys. To date, Weiner, either alone or with his co-writers, have racked up eight Emmy bids and three consecutive wins for their scripts.
While the new budget for season 5 should preclude any cast cuts, the episodes could be shorter. Until now all episodes have run 47 minutes. Going forward, the premieres and finales will still be that long, but the 11 episodes in between are to be delivered to AMC with both 45 and 47 minute running times. The cablecaster could chose to air the shorter version, saving the longer one for the DVD release. Product placement will remain under Weiner’s control.
In a statement, Weiner thanked AMC and Lionsgate “for agreeing to support the artistic freedom of myself, the cast and the crew so that we can continue to make the show exactly as we have from the beginning.” He also acknowledged the on-going support of the fans.