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AMC and Lionsgate today announced a new deal with Mad Men creator and executive producer Matthew Weiner that keeps him onboard as showrunner for seasons five and six.
The new deal also includes an option with Lionsgate extending into a possible seventh season.
The deal caps weeks of wrangling that spilled into the media with Weiner’s camp accusing AMC and Lionsgate of compromising creative integrity in order to shave costs.
AMC pays a steep $3 million per episode license fee for Mad Men. And while the series put AMC on the map, helping to transform the network into a destination for quality dramas, it is nevertheless a loss leader. For its third season in 2009, Mad Men took in a relatively paltry $2 million in ad revenue over 13 episodes, according to Kantar Media. AMC pocketed $2.8 million the year before and about $2.25 million in 2007.
Today’s new Mad Men deal announcements were made by Charlie Collier, president of AMC, and Kevin Beggs, president of Lionsgate Television Group.
“I want to thank all of our wonderful fans for their support.” Weiner said in a statement. “I also want to thank 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. I’m excited to get started on the next chapter of our story.”
Said Collier: “AMC’s original programming began with a mission to create bold storytelling of the highest quality, and ‘Mad Men’ was the perfect expression of that commitment. We’ve been proud to support this show from the day we read Matt’s ground-breaking pilot script and have loved building it with Matt and Lionsgate into the cultural phenomenon it has become. For everyone involved in the show and its passionate fans, we are thrilled to announce that the series will continue on AMC under the exceptional vision of Matt Weiner.”
“We are proud to continue our successful relationships with AMC and the brilliantly talented Matt Weiner, whose vision has created one of the most distinguished series on television,” added Beggs. “We also appreciate the passion and patience of ‘Mad Men’ fans around the world who have been awaiting this good news, and we believe they will be rewarded with many more seasons of this extraordinary and groundbreaking series.”
Last week, AMC confirmed that Mad Men would not return until March 2012, which will mean nearly a year and a half between new episodes of the show.
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