March 13, 2012 11:18pm PT by Michael O'Connell
PaleyFest: 'Mad Men' Star Jon Hamm Finds Recent Media Attention 'Surprising' (Video)
Mad Men made Jon Hamm a household name.
Since the series' 2007 debut, the nearly 41-year-old actor has earned four Emmy nominations for playing the secretive (and often stern) Don Draper, made regular, lauded appearances on Saturday Night Live and become arguably one of the most likable celebrities today.
PHOTOS: PaleyFest 2012 Feat. 'Mad Men,' 'Sons of Anarchy' and More
All of this comes with an extra bit of scrutiny. Hamm's recent comments about the Mad Men contract negotiations ("when billionaires fight") and reality stars like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton ("stupidity is certainly celebrated") found their way into countless blogs, articles and TV reports -- something Hamm tells The Hollywood Reporter he found a bit surprising.
"If you're referring to the Kardashian thing, then that's it's own animal," he said to THR ahead of Mad Men's Tuesday PaleyFest panel. "We live in a world now where every word is micro-parsed and sometimes taken out of context, sometimes misunderstood. But also, there's a lot of outlets now. Everyone has a blog or a cable news show or an online presence or something. There's a lot of outlets and and those outlets need to be continually fed."
Given his relatively new fame, he admits he was a bit caught off guard by the media attention that's followed him these past two weeks promoting the series' fifth season. "In a way it is surprising," he says. "We are a tiny little show, but, in another way, I guess it's part of the game."
Still, it's not as though Hamm appears anything but grateful and proud of his day job and all it's afforded him. Following news that he would make his directorial debut in Season 5, Hamm now serves as series producer.
VIDEOS: PaleyFest 2012 Red Carpet Interviews
"Being a producer on television, there are a lot of them," he admits, "and there are certainly a lot of pay grades above my title, but it it was nice that they extended it to me and I do feel like I've earned it. I've been on the set for quite some time, and five years in, it was nice to get that respect."
As for directing, Hamm calls it one of the most special experiences he's had on the show.
"It was a blast," he says. "It was the first one we shot, but it won't be the first one we air... It was fun because we had such a long layoff. It was nice to come back and have everybody excited and reinvigorated and really just happy to be back at work. That part felt like an extra special pleasure."
Watch Hamm's complete THR interview -- neither micro-parsed or taken out of context -- above. And watch the two-hour Season 5 premiere of Mad Men on AMC, March 25, at 9:00 p.m. ET.