Turmoil Surrounds the Future of ‘Mad Men’

January Jones as Betty Draper on 'Mad Men' (Photo: AMC)

January Jones as Betty Draper on 'Mad Men' (Photo: AMC)

AMC announced Tuesday that its award-winning drama “Mad Men” has been renewed for a fifth season, but that doesn’t mean everything is hunky dory.

The new season will be delayed until 2012 for one thing. There’s also drama behind the scenes as series creator, executive producer and primary writer Matthew Weiner battles through some allegedly rocky negotiations with AMC.

Paychecks and budget cuts are what’s driving a wedge between the creator and the network, according to Deadline.com.

Weiner is said to be angling for a big fat payday in a new deal that would pay him $30 million over two years, which would make him the highest paid showrunner on basic cable.

The network is “resisting” the salary increase, and also reportedly wants to cut the show’s running time (to add more commercials) – as well as cut two regular cast members – in an effort to reduce costs on the Emmy-winning series starring Jon Hamm and January Jones. “This is their storied franchise, and they want it shorter and cheaper, with fewer actors and more product integration,” an insider says, according to Deadline.

The “collapse” in the contract talks has resulted in the show missing the scheduled production start on the upcoming season, meaning “Mad Men” will be pushed beyond its usual summer premiere date into the 2012 TV season.

But while negotiations continue, AMC and Lionsgate are making sure that the show does indeed go on.

Here’s the statement from AMC on ‘Mad Men’s renewal status:

“AMC has officially authorized production of Season 5 of ‘Mad Men,’ triggering our option with Lionsgate (‘Mad Men’s production company). 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.”

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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