Deal or no deal, the fifth season would air March 2012 because the date reportedly is the only available slot in AMC's schedule.
"Mad Men" talks between creator Matthew Weiner and AMC/Lionsgate may have not fallen through but the network is giving assurance to fans that the show will see the light of day. In the latest progress of the negotiations, AMC set March 2012 as the premiere date of season 5. It is 17 months since the series wrapped up the fourth season in October last year.
"AMC has officially authorized production of season 5 of 'Mad Men', triggering our option with Lionsgate," the official statement said. "While we are getting a later start than in years past due to ongoing, key non-cast negotiations, 'Mad Men' will be back for a fifth season in early 2012." The "key non-cast" refers to Weiner.
The new season was originally planned to air in July but the lengthy discussions between Weiner and AMC have caused a delay in the production. The parties were reportedly at two ends regarding run time, budget cuts and product placement, the latest which would lead to two characters cut.
Per Deadline, Weiner actually said he could deliver season 5 on budget for 2011 premiere but apparently it's not the problem because it was the case of fully-occupied year. With "Breaking Bad" already delayed from 2010 date and "The Walking Dead" being the net's new muse, AMC prefers to stuff them this year and pushes back "Mad Men".
Sources said the studio offers Weiner $30 million over three years, which would take the show through its seventh season and make Weiner one of the highest-paid showrunners in ad-supported cable. But for now, Weiner won't abide to their terms. "I don't understand why, with all of the success of the show, they suddenly need to change it," he told NY Times, adding "All I want to do is continue to make my show, and make it in the way I want to, with the people I want to make it with."