Further Delays On Fifth “Mad Men” Season

Fans of AMC’s “Mad Men” everywhere were excited last week about the news that negotiations were finally getting underway between creator/executive producer Matthew Weiner and AMC and Lionsgate Television so that a fifth season could go into production.

Well, now it’s time to throw a bucket of cold water on that joy as Deadline reports that said negotiations have reached an impasse and has officially delayed the production start of the new season.

Reportedly there are three points to the $30 million, two-year deal that Weiner objects to that AMC/Lionsgate are asking for. The first is cutting two minutes from each episode’s running time in favor of more commercials. Weiner had a similar standoff over this issue before, but a solution was previously found. Even if he concedes it, the episodes will still have longer runtimes than 90% of basic cable drama series.

The second issue is AMC & Lionsgate want integrated product placement. The third issue, and the one that fans will not be happy with, is that two regular cast members will have to be either dropped or greatly reduced in order to save money.

This delay of production means there’s no chance of the fifth season being ready in time for a Summer bow, with a Fall premiere now looking to be the earliest option should a resolution to this problem be found soon.

Update 11:14am: AMC has issued the following statement: “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.”