‘Mad Men’ Resumes Production Next Week, Jon Hamm to Direct

Jon Hamm of 'Mad Men' (Photo: AMC)

Jon Hamm of 'Mad Men' (Photo: AMC)

This TV season just isn’t the same without the Sunday night summer cocktail that is “Mad Men,” but fans will be glad to hear the gang is suiting up for new episodes after contract negotiations delayed the upcoming season.

AMC executive Joel Stillerman addressed a room full of reporters Thursday at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Beverly Hills, making several announcements about the network’s programming.

First up was the announcement of the return of Seasons 5 and 6 of “Mad Men,” as Stillerman confirmed that “Mad” creator Matt Weiner and his team are in the writers’ room breaking stories for this season, with production set to start on Monday, August 8.

He also added that leading man Jon Hamm will be working harder than usual.

“When they start shooting, Don Draper and the rest of the cast will be in front of the camera and Jon Hamm will be making his directorial debut of the season premiere of Season 5.”

The exec also addressed the shake-up at the top of the network’s latest hit, “The Walking Dead,” which lost its high-profile showrunner Frank Darabont earlier this week, just as production on Season 2 is kicking into full gear.

“A very heart felt thank you to Frank for the contribution he’s made to The Walking Dead, his fingerprints are all over the television show you see and we are grateful for his contributions,” Stillerman said.

So just what went down behind the scenes of the zombie drama? Stillerman declined to elaborate but didn’t seem concerned about the show’s future as it switches hands.

“I don’t have much to add to the circumstances around it, we are grateful to Frank, but we have full confidence in the team taking over and we’re excited to move on.” He added: “We’re going to take what we started last year and move it to the next level … it will be a great season.”

Meanwhile, AMC also announced a new digital venture – a new web series titled “The Trivial Pursuits of Arthur Banks.” The 40-minute project stars Adam Goldberg and Jeffrey Tambor and will premiere Aug. 22 as a co-release on amctv.com and Hulu.com. Goldberg plays a successful theater director who stages a play that mirrors his dysfunctional love life and Tambor plays his therapist.

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