Our brief quality cable programming nightmare is over: days after negotiations looked ready to collapse over "revenue enhancements" (read: budget cuts and more commercial breaks), AMC and Lionsgate struck a deal with Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner agreed last night to a new three-year, $30 million contract for the showrunner, and all-around creative svengali. The deal all but guarantees that the critically acclaimed, marginally profitable drama will run for seven seasons, assuming AMC is able to reach extensions with principal cast members, whose contracts expire after season six.
Here's a breakdown of how the three most contentious issues were resolved.
Rumors circulated that AMC asked Weiner to cut anywhere from two to six regulars from the show's cast. In an interview with Mad Men fan blog Basket of Kisses, Weiner confirmed The Wrap's report that the request was actually for him to "cut six cast members from the Emmy-winning show over three seasons," which is to say, two per season. Based on the cast list included on AMC's press release yesterday, every regular--even Sally Draper--is safe. While that number might not shrink, it is highly unlikely to grow. Weiner told The Washingrton Post's Lisa de Moraes that “cast decisions will be made based on creative decisions, not financial decisions,”but The Wrap also notes AMC has "asked [Weiner] to be judicious about signing actors who may only deliver only a couple of lines per season."