'Mad Men': Could Season Five Be Delayed Until 2012?

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At this time last year, the writers for and creative team behind AMC's Mad Men were working feverishly on crafting the drama's season four premiere—and had been for over a month. With negotiations among AMC, Lionsgate (the studio that makes the show), and showrunner Matthew Weiner still ongoing, The New York Times is reporting that season five of the series couldn't realistically launch until late 2011—or even 2012—no doubt disappointing fans used to tuning in to the drama on Sunday nights every summer:

People involved in the talks suggested this week that one or both deals may be imminent, but that may not be enough to ensure a summer start date. Todd Gold, the editor in chief of XfinityTV.com, said it was becoming clear that the show was "right on the cusp of going one way or the other."

"By now, the writing staff should be humming along, maybe about a month or more into work for a summer premiere," he said. "Unless Weiner is secretly manufacturing outlines in preparation of some crazy all-night writing sessions with his staff, it might be time for fans to grow concerned."

The hold-up in starting production on a season of the series is nothing new, but never have negotiations lasted this long:

"Mad Men" was held up by negotiations once before, after the second season in October 2008. At the time Variety called it "one of the most protracted negotiations in memory," and that time it was settled by the following January.

This time the negotiations started last summer before Season 4 even had its premiere, and they have extended into the spring. AMC retained Jim Jackoway, an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles, to represent it; he confirmed this week that he remained in AMC's employ regarding "Mad Men" but could not comment further.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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Kevin Fallon is a reporter for the Daily Beast. He's a former entertainment editor at TheWeek.com and former writer and producer for The Atlantic's entertainment channel.

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