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Emmys: Matthew Weiner already knows how 'Mad Men' will end

Matt Weiner

"Mad Men" has won the Emmy for outstanding drama series for the last three years and may well be on its way to a fourth with a fresh nomination Thursday morning. For series creator Matthew Weiner, the recognition is completely gratifying.

How are you feeling?

I’m so thrilled, I’m so excited, I can’t even tell you.

Where were you when you heard the good news?

I was lying in bed in the dark, turned on the TV and woke up my wife because she now knows she has to wake up and pretend she wouldn’t rather be asleep. It was great. I had no idea it was going to happen this deep into the show. It was really exciting.

What will you do to celebrate?
We’re a very superstitious bunch of people, so we try to do everything exactly the same way. We decided that no matter what happened today, we’re going to get together and drink tonight. And we will probably drink during the day here also, which will probably limit our productivity. We’re not shooting, so that helps a little bit; the writers room is open, production is clicking away, so everyone is open to that. It’s also the way the show is. There’s something extra sweet about it because, four years into it, you just don’t expect to be in it.

 You submitted “The Suitcase.”  Why did you choose that episode?

That episode is very special. It’s one of those episodes where you get to pay off a lot of tensions. People recognize their own workplaces and workplace relationships. These are two characters (Don Draper, Peggy Olson) who have spent a lot of time together, and we’ve gotten to see a lot of it, but a lot of it has still been left unsaid. In this episode, it gets said. It was a payoff that was earned, that experience is very satisfying. You have sentiment and emotion, and not shove it in people’s faces.

Elisabeth Moss also got a nomination.

She’s an incredible actress. I’ve never given her anything that didn’t sound better when she said it. Everyone is better when they are in scenes with her. She’s a very, very natural and intelligent actress. I give her credit, she doesn’t get a lot coaching or conversation. We don’t talk about motivations. We don’t really have any traditional conversations you have about acting and character. She does it from her gut, and she’s never made a wrong choice as far as I’m concerned. 

How about Jon Hamm?

Jon is always amazing. He’s had scripts where he’s only had four lines, and he dominates them. He’s such a versatile actor, and now everybody knows it from having seen him in all these different comedy parts and “The Town,” but we got to show that off, and that was very cool.

You put AMC on the map, but they’ve done a good job now of airing other quality shows — "Breaking Bad," "The Killing," "Walking Dead" — what do all these nominations mean for AMC and basic cable?

I think it really helps explain that it’s a great place to work; to me, it proves that competition in the marketplace is a really good thing. There’s a lot of shows here that network TV just can’t do; they can’t support it because they don’t deliver the mass audiences that they require. At the same time, audiences really like them and they have longevity and they succeed in all these different formats. Business models are very different than they used to be, so, for creative people, this is a golden opportunity. Cable has found a way to tap into a lot frustrated creativity and exploit it financially.

You have three seasons left. Do you have an end in mind for the show?

I do. I do. I do. I do have an ending in mind. I’m keeping it close to the vest in case I change my mind. I don’t want to share it with anyone. I kind of, well, that’s all I should say on that.

RELATED:

Emmys: Best drama nominees

Emmys: Drama actor, actress nominees

Show Tracker coverage of 'Mad Men'

 — Martin Miller

Photo: Matthew Weiner. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times.

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