“Mad Men” has one more season to go, but the end won’t come until 2015.
AMC made the announcement on Tuesday: The final season of “Mad Men” will consist of 14 episodes — seven of which will air next spring, with the final seven set to air in spring 2015.
AMC is positioning the plan in the same context as “Breaking Bad,” which is now heading toward its own series finale with a final run of eight episodes — roughly the second half of its final season.
“This approach has worked well for many programs … and, most recently for us with ‘Breaking Bad,’ which attracted nearly double the number of viewers to its second-half premiere than had watched any previous episode,” said AMC President Charlie Collier in a prepared statement.
“We are determined to bring ‘Mad Men’ a similar showcase,” he said “In an era where high-end content is savored and analyzed, and catch-up time is used well to drive [viewership] back to ‘live’ events, we believe this is the best way to release the now 14 episodes than remain of this iconic series.”
Executive producer Matt Weiner had a prepared statement of his own: Said he, “We plan to take advantage of this chance to have a more elaborate story told in two parts, which can resonate a little bit longer in the minds of our audience. The writers, cast and other artists welcome this unique manner of ending this unique experience.”
One reason for the staggered schedule that they didn’t mention: When a show such as “Mad Men” becomes successful, its cast members start to get offered a lot of other work. We suspect this drawn-out scenario has as much to do with the personal schedules of key cast members over the next 20 months or so as it does with AMC’s hope that this split schedule will generate high ratings for the finale when it finally comes on the air.
Our take: These AMC execs are probably right: The final seven episodes of “Mad Men” will be highly anticipated and will likely be high-rated. But all the same, waiting nearly two years from now to see the last of just 14 more episodes of a show like “Mad Men” seems like a lot to ask of an audience. Just sayin’ …