Vincent Kartheiser and Jon Hamm Vincent Kartheiser and Jon Hamm

Mad Men fans, don't despair yet: Don Draper and company will be back for Season 5, but perhaps a few weeks later than usual.

Insiders at AMC tell TV Guide Magazine that a deal is close with Mad Men executive producer Matthew Weiner and Lionsgate, which produces the show. If a deal can be finalized shortly, the show will be a month or so behind schedule (the writers are usually back to work by February) — but could still hit the network by fall.

"It's always varied when Mad Men premiered," says the insider, noting that Mad Men has sometimes returned as early as mid-July, but in Season 3 didn't return until August (when the show and Weiner last went through negotiations). Cable networks often stagger their launches, and a later-than-usual bow for Mad Men would hardly be unprecedented.

A frenzy of news stories about the negotiation — prompted in part by the Los Angeles premiere of AMC's new murder mystery The Killing on Monday night — could very well be the catalyst to finally finalize the long-gestating deal between AMC, Lionsgate and Weiner. Weiner is looking for a salary bump; Lionsgate, in turn, is likely looking to increase the license fee on the show (and extend the show through a sixth season).

Meanwhile, writers returned to work three weeks ago on AMC's The Walking Dead, which is expected to return for Season 2 in October.

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