‘Mad Men’ creator Matt Weiner says he’s no Don Draper
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‘I’m not Don Draper, I don’t have the stomach for this,’ said Matt Weiner about the tough negotiations surrounding his just-completed new deal to stay on as executive producer of the cult cable drama ‘Mad Men’ for at least two seasons.
In an interview, Weiner said his issues with AMC, the cable network that airs ‘Mad Men’ and Lionsgate, the production company behind the show, was not about how much he was getting paid. ‘Mad Men’ is AMC’s signature show and follows the lives of ad men in 1960s New York who struggle to adjust to the social and political changes going on around them. It has won three Emmy Awards for best drama.
‘It is beyond money for me, I didn’t want to make something that wasn’t the show,’ he said. Weiner’s deal will pay him close to $10 million per season, according to people familiar with the terms.
Weiner, who was under pressure from AMC and Lionsgate to trim costs and be open to adding additional commercial breaks to ‘Mad Men’ said his battle ‘was always about trying to keep doing the show the way we’ve done the show.’
There was some compromise from the hands-on producer. While the first and last episodes of the next season of ‘Mad Men’ will run 47 minutes, the rest of the episodes will run 45 minutes, giving AMC a chance to make more money from commercials. Weiner will be able to film 47 minute episodes though for DVDs, iTunes and video on demand.
Weiner was also resistant to having to trim production costs and potentially lose cast members. The deal for ‘Mad Men’ with AMC runs for two seasons with the current cast.
‘The cast will be intact and people’s characters will only leave the story if it suits the story creatively,’ he said. If the bulk of the cast is on board for a third season, then Weiner will return as well.
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-- Joe Flint
Top photo: Actor Jon Hamm plays hard-drinking advertising executive Don Draper in AMC’s ‘Mad Men.’ Credit: AMC