Jon Hamm and Matt Weiner on the set of Mad Men
The real-life "suits" in charge of Sterling Cooper have been spending some time in their own boardrooms lately.
As previously reported, Mad Men recently earned a third-season renewal from AMC, prompting contract negotiations between Matthew Weiner, the show's creator, and Lionsgate, the studio that produces the Emmy-winning series. But according to Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily, those negotiations may have hit a speed bump, as Lionsgate has contacted several Hollywood agencies looking for a list of possible show runners to succeed Weiner.
But don't choke on your scotch just yet ...
Tina Fey and Megan Mullally
As this year's Emmy champs pass like ships in the night — AMC's best-drama winner, Mad Men, wrapping its brilliant second season October 26, less than a week before NBC's best comedy, 30 Rock, launched its wacky third year I can't help reflecting that while more awards surely lie in their future, neither show is likely to win a popularity contest.
Mad Men, which filters its '60s nostalgia through a glass (of scotch) darkly, is seen by many as too subtly ambiguous, too grim: the disturbing rape of sex-bomb secretary Joan by her fiancé one of many examples. It's a show that feels more high art (Don's surreal lost weekend in Palm Springs) than mass-market. Whereas 30 Rock revels in such a twisted world of zany absurdism, it will never be to everyone's taste. Too bad for those unwilling to embrace these shows' strange and wondrous ways.
More on the Mad Men finale and 30 Rock premiere after the jump.
Mad Men's second season is now behind us, leaving viewers to ponder the possibilities of what lies in store when the show returns for its recently announced third season. If we know creator Matt Weiner, there's no telling where the stories of Don Draper & Co. will go. But based on what we know right now, we compiled the questions we'd most like to see answered and even took our best guess at how it will all shake out. Don't like our theories? Share your hypotheses and own burning questions after the jump.
Miss Holloway, take a memo:
Because of our ongoing relationship, I wanted to bring to your attention the fact that according to one of the Hollywood trades, Mad Men's Season 2 finale drew 1.75 million total viewers with its 10 pm Sunday broadcast. That in and of itself represents an 89 percent increase over the AMC series' freshman finale."
[Long pull on cigarette.]
"When including the 11 pm and 1 am rebroadcasts, the finale audience totaled 2.9 million. At the end of the day, this season outpaced the first by 63 percent ...
As Mad Men drew its riveting second season to a close, the world as these characters knew it was coming to an end — both inside and outside of Sterling Cooper. The fears and uncertainties caused by the Cuban missile crisis gave rise to folks getting their lives in order, either by correcting the wrongs of their pasts, growing into the adult they have been pretending to be or confessing a secret and releasing the hidden burden they have been carrying. As death loomed, so did the promise of new life. As confession healed, it also tormented. As power was attained, it was also lost. And the man we've known as Don Draper has accepted that he and Dick Whitman are two sides of the same coin, realizing that his hope (and the hope for the rest of these characters) to see tomorrow rests on finding that comfortable middle ground between the two extremes.
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
10 pm/ET AMC
In the engrossing second season finale, the staff is agog over questions and speculations as to why Don is AWOL in California.
Read on for previews of Amazing Race 13, Desperate Housewives, True Blood and Entourage.
While Don Draper is washing his sins away in the Pacific, Pete Campbell is losing an account over in-law squabbles and Sterling Cooper's partners are allowing the agency to be sold, at least one of Mad Men's characters has it together: Peggy Olsen. Or does she?
One thing we know for sure is that she now has a new office to go with that new hair cut. And while Peggy probably cares most about getting away from that noisy Xerox machine, actress Elisabeth Moss was more than ready for Peggy's new 'do. "I was so glad to be rid of that ponytail," Moss says. "I wore it every day, with a few exceptions. You just have no idea how badly I wanted it gone."
After the jump, Moss teases a "satisfying" answer to viewers' questions and Peggy's big confession.
Sarah Chalke and Josh Radnor
On TV, it's all about living up to expectations.
Sarah Palin and Saturday Night Live certainly achieved that in this weekend's instant-classic and rabidly anticipated guest appearance by the controversial Republican vice-presidential candidate on the resurgent (though still woefully uneven) late-night comedy show. Watching Tina Fey impersonate her from a backstage monitor, palling around with Alec Baldwin (in GOP terms, the next best thing to a celebrity terrorist), throwing the "Live from New York" opener after crossing paths all-too-briefly with Tina, bopping to Amy Poehler's rap groove at the Weekend Update desk, the good-sport Alaska governor no doubt did wonders for her own approval ratings (or at least her TV "Q" ratings) while boosting those of SNL.
So what else is living up to the buzz?
"I always felt we met so both our lives could be better."
No matter how much of a loner Don Draper is in the boardroom, the statement above (and the woman who spoke it) just might explain why it is that, in the two seasons we've known Don, he's always seeking some sort of extra connection. Before fully immersing himself into Don Draper's life, Dick Whitman had a special partnership with the real Don's wife, Anna, and thought he had found something similar in Betty. But of course, he's jumped from woman to woman since then, looking for a partnership that does make both lives better. In this episode, Don reconnects with Anna (and the world), while Betty, Bert Cooper, Pete and Joan all make (or break) their own special partnerships.
Now that Mad Men's Don (Jon Hamm) has left the house, his future with wife Betty is left hanging in the balance, without much time left in Season 2 to figure it out. Yet, as Betty has slowly become more emboldened in recent episodes, her newfound independence is leaving her portrayer, January Jones, in a bit of a conundrum as to her hopes for the couple's storyline to come.
Jones wouldn't say exactly what does happen in the season's two remaining episodes, but she did share her hopes for Mr. and Mrs. Draper. "I'm old-fashioned. I'd really like to see her and Don work it out," she told TVGuide.com. "But, on the other side, if it were me, actually me, I would have kicked him out a long time ago, so I don't know."
Yet, she continued, "I have high hopes for her. I think these last couple of episodes have been a huge deal for her. I don't know what's happened that's made her have this strength all of a sudden, but I think the ticking time bomb went off."<