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'Mad Men' Delayed Until Next Year

Mad men The Emmy-winning "Mad Men" will return for a fifth season on AMC, but the new installment of the hit series is not scheduled to air until March 2012. Though the popular drama normally premieres during the summer, ongoing contract disputes between AMC, Lionsgate TV, and the show's creator, Matthew Weiner, caused AMC to delay  greenlighting the new season. Deadline and the New York Times reported that Weiner objected to three proposals from AMC/Lionsgate: slashing two minutes from each episode in favor of more commercials, integrating product placement into the series, and eliminating  regular cast members over three years to save money.

When Weiner negotiated his contract two years ago, AMC attempted to add two minutes of commercials to "Mad Men," which is set at an advertising agency. Weiner refused, so the cable channel increased the show's length by two minutes in order to add commercials. Just two weeks ago, AMC offered Weiner a three-season contract that would be worth $30 million, but no deal has been finalized, a source told the Times.

The Wrap points out that AMC takes a big gamble by allowing the showrunners of its hit series "Breaking Bad," "The Walking Dead," and "Mad Men" more creative control than those at other networks. The stalling of these negotiations definitely demonstrates Weiner's powerful position because, as the Times put it, he is "the soul of the show." The viewers would arguably enjoy such creative freedom unless of course the producers and the showrunners don't see to eye to eye. Then no one sees the show. 

Pictured: Elizabeth Moss, Matthew Weiner, Christina Hendricks, Jon Hamm (Photo: Getty Images)

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