There will be no Mad Men in 2011. What will win the Emmy for Best Drama then?

Despite ongoing contract negotiations with it’s showrunner and creator Matthew Weiner, AMC was officially renewed Mad Men for a fifth season today, but really they should have started production on the series in a few weeks, really all the scripts should be done. Jon Hamm rather frustratingly admitted recently that he had no idea when he was going back to work. AMC decided today that whether or not a contract with Weiner happens the fifth season will premiere in March 2011.

Word is, and remember this is strong rumor/conjecture at BEST, that AMC to increase profitability on it’s money-hemorrhaging flagship, wanted to:
A. Increase product placement on the series.
B. Cut each episode by two minutes allowing for extra commercial time.
C. Cut two cast-members down to recurring.
This is all on top of a deal in place that makes creator Matthew Weiner the highest paid Showrunner on TV (SethMcFarlane and Chuck Lorre make the most, but for three series each, Weiner would be the highest per series). Now as much as I’m in favour of preserving artistic integrity I don’t actually think this is sooooo terrible. Here’s why:

The series has ALWAYS used product placement, rather gracefully I might add, also it’s a series about ads, which constantly feature name products. Mad Men episodes run about 48 minutes on average, if they took away two minutes it’d still be longer than network dramas. As much as I love them Crane and Cosgrove (right) can be reduced to recurring, neither of them had a significant plot in season 4 – maybe Weiner will do us all a favour and fire January Jones, it’s doubtful – but the show could use less of her. None of this is by any means advocating giving up artistic integrity but I love my Mad Men and if I have to have a slightly compromised Mad Men over none, I’ll take it.

And I’ll get it in March 2012. One rumour as to why its pushed back so far (Weiner contends that he could have it done in 2011) is that currently AMC has 5 original series, and it’s only open slot was in March 2012. It’s next original series, The Killing, premieres next sunday night. It looks really, really good. After that Breaking Bad airs in Mad Men’s place in the summer, The Walking Dead’s second season premieres in the fall as does a new series called Hell on Wheels, about the building of the Transcontinental Railroad, stars Anson Mount (Crossroads) as a confederate soldier and rapper Common (Terminator Salvation) as a freed slave.

Check out the trailer for The Killing, starring Mireille Enos (Big Love’s Marquart twins), Brent Sexton (Deadwood), Billy Campbell (Once and Again) and the BRILLIANT Michelle Forbes (24, Battlestar Galactica, Prison Break, True Blood, Lost, Star Trek: TNG, In Treatment and Homicide: Life on the Street – Brilliant right?)


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