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Matthew Weiner needs to be peeled off the ceiling.
“I’m just so pleased,” the Mad Men creator tells The Hollywood Reporter, hours after the announcement that he will remain with the Emmy-winning series for the show’s final three seasons.
Weiner, whose protracted contract negotiations with AMC became a major media story in recent days, plans to return to his office Friday to begin mapping out the season. His writing staff will join him four to five weeks later, with production scheduled to begin in July. The show is set to return to the network’s schedule in March of 2012, a necessity of AMC’s packed slate.
“It’s not desirable to be off the air this long,” says Weiner of the more than 17-month gap between Seasons 4 and 5, adding that he fought to get back on the air sooner but the request met with resistance — and ultimately denial– by the network. But he acknowledged he’s so grateful that it all came together, it is hard to complain.
The product integration policy remains the same as it has been in seasons’ past, he says, and the cast changes will be made for creative reasons, not financial ones. The remaining seasons’ premiere and finale episodes will be the same length that they’ve always been, while Episodes 2-12 will be slightly shorter 45-minute broadcasts on AMC with a “final cut” made available digitally eight days later.
What’s more, he gets to finish the show on his terms. “I’ve never known, even the first season, if I was going to be to back,” he says. “I’m still going to put everything I have into every episode, but seven seasons seems like the right length for the life of the show and I’m very excited knowing that I have that canvas to paint on.”
The deal is believed to pay him in the neighborhood of $30 million, though Weiner says, “It was never about the money.”
He adds, with a mixture of excitement and relief in his voice: “All I wanted to do was to continue making the show the way it is because it was my belief, both commercially and creatively, that it’s success was because of the form that it is.”
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