Continuing contract negotiations between show creator Matthew Weiner and AMC have led to the delay of the 1960s-set drama and the absence of Don Draper in our lives.
"While we are getting a later start than in years past due to ongoing, key noncast negotiations, 'Mad Men' will be back for a fifth season in early 2012," the network said, according to Show Tracker.
A deal hasn't been brokered because the network wants to add more product placement to the product-heavy show, add more commercials by shaving two minutes off the total running time. (Translation: Even less Don Draper in our lives.)
One report said that negotiations could collapse because of AMC's demands. Weiner, who has won several Emmys for the series, is looking for a deal that will allow him to get $15 million a year -- or upwards of $1 million an episode -- putting him among the top-paid showrunners in basic cable. Talk about mad men...
But Weiner insists the delay is unrelated to monetary issues.
"I want the fans to know directly from me that I had nothing to do with this delay and it is not about money. I am fighting for the cast and for the show. And I appreciate the kindness and concern of the fans," he told "Mad Men" fan blog Basket of Kisses.
"First of all, the number that's been published is not true. Second of all, I offered to have less money, to save the cast, and to leave the show in the running time that it's supposed to be. The harder that I've fought for the show, the more money that they've offered me."
Tough life, eh?
In the meantime, the show's stars are working on various geek-friendly projects: You can catch Hamm now in Zack Snyder's "Sucker Punch" and John Slattery in "The Adjustment Bureau," both currently in theaters. Hamm will also appear (shirtless!) in Judd Apatow's "Bridesmaids" comedy with Kristin Wiig. He's also teaming with indie-filmmaker/girlfriend Jennifer Westfeldt to make "Friends with Kids" and will again perform with Westfeldt in April in an L.A. Theatre Works radio theater production of Anton Chekhov's "The Three Sisters."
Christina Hendricks will star in the action flick "Drive" this spring and has just signed on for the film "Seconds of Pleasure" with Brendan Fraser, Julia Stiles, Matt Dillon and Kristen Scott Thomas. January Jones will appear in this summer's highly-anticipated "X-Men: First Class." Elisabeth Moss will star in Walter Salles' adaptation of "On the Road" and is appearing in London in the West End production of "The Children's Hour" alongside Keira Knightley.
And if these alternatives don't strike your retro-drama fancy, click on the gallery above for more alternatives for your "Mad Men"-less summer.
-- Nardine Saad
twitter.com / NardineSaad
Photos, from top: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in "Mad Men"; January Jones in "X-Men: First Class." Credits: AMC; Murray Close / Fox