While Mad Men may not be returning this year, we can all finally exhale knowing that we'll be reunited with the chainsmoking gang in March of 2012. Last night the show's creator, Matthew Weiner, struck a deal with AMC and Lionsgate for two more seasons, with the option of a third (which sources say is likely). According to the Wall Street Journal, the agreement has Weiner receiving $30 million in compensation for the three years.
In turn, he'll be breaking down to certain network demands, like shaving two minutes off the show to make way for more commercials. Sponsors will also have the right to speak publicly about product integration on the show... something only Don Draper himself could have sold. And in the end, the shaved two minutes will be made available in a “final cut” version via iTunes.
In a statement he released last night, Weiner said, “I want to thank all of our wonderful fans for their support. I also want to thank AMC and Lionsgate for agreeing to support the artistic freedom of myself, the cast and the crew so that we can continue to make the show exactly as we have from the beginning.” Turns out he didn't have to budge on cast cuts, the studio allegedly backed off; he told the Post, "The cast decisions are creative decisions, not financial decisions."
So what do Mad Men fans do for their mid-century drama fix while the show is off the air? Maybe Netflix can give it their Instant Watch treatment (Season 4 was just released on DVD—NPR revisited their interview with Jon Hamm in celebration). And there's always the newly optioned Playboy drama coming to NBC later this year.