We'll drink to that.
The series will return for a fifth and sixth season — beginning in March 2012 — with Weiner returning as showrunner, AMC and Lionsgate announced Thursday. Weiner has also signed a long-term pact with Mad Men producer Lionsgate, which could extend to a seventh season.
The news comes as a relief for fans. Negotiations between Weiner and Lionsgate began back in October when Weiner's contract expired at the conclusion of the fourth season. According to several reports, Weiner was opposed to key cost-cutting measures proposed by AMC and Lionsgate, including increased product placement during the show, shorter episodic running times and a decreased cast budget.
Terms of the deal have not been disclosed but the New York Times reports that AMC had been seeking to reduce the run-time by two minutes per episode, and that Weiner's new contact specifies he'll keep the first and last episodes of the season at 47 minutes — the same length as episodes in previous seasons. For all the other episodes in between, however, he'll produce a 47-minute and a 45-minute version, allowing AMC to choose which runtime to air or save for DVDs and video-on-demand.
Variety reports that the studio has, in fact, compromised on how much they wanted to cut on cast pay in future seasons. (Deadline reported that the network and studio had wanted Weiner to cut two full-time cast members.)
For Weiner, his new multiyear deal makes him one of TV's highest-paid showrunners, paying him $30 million over three seasons, Variety reports.
"I want to thank all of our wonderful fans for their support." said Weiner in a statement. "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. I'm excited to get started on the next chapter of our story."
Are you happy Mad Men will be back?