Category: Mad Men

Michael C. Hall, Jon Hamm, Cloris Leachman, more to join Emmy Week panels

Michael c hall 
The L.A. Times is ushering in Emmy season with Envelope Emmy Week -- five days of television series screenings, cast Q&As and roundtable panels starting June 1. Fans of “Mad Men,” “True Blood,” “Dexter,” “Justified,” “Shameless” and many others will get a chance to hear the series' stars discuss their shows and characters. 

As noted on our sister blog, Awards Tracker, Jon Hamm, Christina Hendricks and Kiernan Shipka will join “Mad Men” creator and executive producer Matt Weiner for a screening and Q&A on June 1. William H. Macy and other cast members of Showtime's "Shameless" take the stage on June 2, and Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins and others talk about “Justified” on June 6.

Leachman The final two roundtables mix things up thematically; the Alternative Families panel on June 7 will be hosted by Times TV critic Mary McNamara and will feature Katey Sagal (“Sons of Anarchy”), Jennifer Carpenter (“Dexter”), Denis O’Hare (“True Blood”), Emmy Rossum (“Shameless”), Cloris Leachman (“Raising Hope”) and Peter Krause (“Parenthood”). The Geek TV panel on June 8 will be moderated by Times television critic Robert Lloyd and will feature Joel McHale (“Community”), Sam Trammell (“True Blood”), Jayma Mays (“Glee”), Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”) and Johnny Galecki (“The Big Bang Theory”).

So, what would you want to ask this eclectic mix of actors? Leave your questions here for possible inclusion in the panels.

Guild members can get additional details and RSVP to attend any of the events at

-- Elena Howe

Top photo: Michael C. Hall. Credit: Randy Tepper / Showtime 

Photo at right: Cloris Leachman. Credit: Stefano Paltera / For The Times

'Mad Men' creator Matt Weiner says he's no Don Draper

"I'm not Don Draper, I don't have the stomach for this," said Matt Weiner about the tough negotiations surrounding his just-completed new deal to stay on as executive producer of the cult cable drama "Mad Men" for at least two seasons.

In an interview, Weiner said his issues with AMC, the cable network that airs "Mad Men" and Lionsgate, the production company behind the show, was not about how much he was getting paid. "Mad Men" is AMC's signature show and follows the lives of ad men in 1960s New York who struggle to adjust to the social and political changes going on around them. It has won three Emmy Awards for best drama.

Mad-men-matt-weiner "It is beyond money for me, I didn't want to make something that wasn't the show," he said. Weiner's deal will pay him close to $10 million per season, according to people familiar with the terms.

Weiner, who was under pressure from AMC and Lionsgate to trim costs and be open to adding additional commercial breaks to "Mad Men" said his battle "was always about trying to keep doing the show the way we've done the show."

There was some compromise from the hands-on producer. While the first and last episodes of the next season of "Mad Men" will run 47 minutes, the rest of the episodes will run 45 minutes, giving AMC a chance to make more money from commercials. Weiner will be able to film 47 minute episodes though for DVDs, iTunes and video on demand.

Weiner was also resistant to having to trim production costs and potentially lose cast members. The deal for "Mad Men" with AMC runs for two seasons with the current cast.

"The cast will be intact and people's characters will only leave the story if it suits the story creatively," he said. If the bulk of the cast is on board for a third season, then Weiner will return as well.


'Mad Men' creator Matt Weiner agrees to new deal

Talks stall between "Mad Men" creator Matt Weiner and AMC, Lionsgate

Full Show Tracker coverage of 'Mad Men'

-- Joe Flint

Top photo: Actor Jon Hamm plays hard-drinking advertising executive Don Draper in AMC's "Mad Men." Credit: AMC

Bottom photo: "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner. Credit: Francois Durand / Getty Images

'Mad Men' creator Matt Weiner agrees to new deal


Martinis for everyone!

"Mad Men" creator Matt Weiner has signed a new deal to remain with the cult cable show for at least two more seasons.

Weiner had been in tough negotiations with AMC, the cable network that carries "Mad Men," and Lionsgate, the production company that makes the hourlong drama about fast-living advertising executives in 1960s New York City.

The show, which normally runs in the summer, had already been pushed to early next year, in part because of the contract dispute. It will probably return to the air in March 2012.

While Weiner will be paid handsomely for staying with the show -- people familiar with his contract say it is worth close to $10 million a season -- money was not the main issue threatening his status. AMC had wanted to add additional commercials to "Mad Men" and Lionsgate wanted to find ways to cut costs in production of the expensive period drama. AMC had also wanted to pursue more product placement and product integration in the show to help it recoup its costs.

A compromise of sorts was reached on the commercials. The first and last episodes of the upcoming fifth season will run at 47 minutes and the rest of the episodes will run at 45 minutes. Weiner will have the option to make those other episodes at 47 minutes for other platforms including video on demand, DVD and iTunes.

With regard to the cast, people close to the show said the main characters are all locked in for the next two seasons, which is how long AMC's current deal with Lionsgate for the show runs. A seventh season with Weiner onboard is likely unless AMC decides it is ready to move on from the series or the bulk of the cast is not renewed.

In a statement, Weiner said, "I 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."

"Mad Men" has won three Emmy Awards for outstanding drama and helped boost AMC from an also-ran cable network to a first-tier channel. It now has other successful original shows including "The Walking Dead" and "Breaking Bad" and it has been able to boost both the dollars it attracts from advertisers and the fees pay-TV distributors shell out to carry the network.


'Mad Men' creator Matt Weiner says he's no Don Draper

Talks stall between "Mad Men" creator Matt Weiner and AMC, Lionsgate

Full Show Tracker coverage of 'Mad Men'

-- Joe Flint

Photo: "Mad Men" creator Matt Weiner (second from left with trophy) at the Golden Globes with the cast. Credit: Andrew Gombert/EPA.



'Mad Men' creator Matt Weiner: 'I'm fighting for the cast and for the show'

Weiner "Mad Men" creator Matt Weiner has denied that his negotiations with AMC and Lionsgate are about money, according to his conversation with a series fan site, Basket of Kisses. "There's been a lot of speculation and misinformation in the press about what is going on," he said. "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."

Weiner insisted that he hadn't sat down with AMC and Lionsgate to discuss the terms of bringing the show back for another season until three weeks ago. He confirmed that he'd been asked to cut six cast members (two per season). (Good thing Jon Hamm has another gig, just to be safe!) Weiner also denied that he's asking for $30 million. In fact, he said, "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." (Weiner has reportedly disagreed with a number of AMC's requests, including shaving a few minutes off "Mad Men's" running time in order to make room for more ads.) "The harder that I've fought for the show," he said, "the more money that they've offered me."

He said he was impressed with fans' devotion to the show. "I can't even tell you what it's meant to me to have intelligent people who care about the show, who reflect about it, who obsess about it; it's been a total surprise to me," he said. "It's surpassed everything I would ever have expected."

-- Melissa Maerz


Talks stall between "Mad Men" creator Matt Weiner and AMC, Lionsgate

Full Show Tracker coverage of "Mad Men"

Photo: Matt Weiner. Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

Will 'Mad Men' cut six characters? And how should it kill them off?

MadMen Yes, it's true: due to ongoing contract negotiations, up to six members of "Mad Men" could be cut from the series in a money-saving move over the next three seasons. Though we'll cut anyone who even thinks of touching Peggy or Pete, truthfully, the thought of killing off, say, Joan's husband Greg kind of excites us. As poor old Miss Blankenship once said, "It's a business of sadists and masochists and you know which one you are." So, being of the former persuasion, we thought it might be fun to suggest how "Mad Men" should snuff out your favorite characters. A few suggestions below:

Long after being ousted from Sterling Cooper onto the streets of Manhattan, Duck Phillips' dog Chauncey returns to maul his cruel owner to death.

During a tragic edition of her favorite game, "spaceman," Sally Draper dons her mother's plastic dry cleaner bag -- and suffocates. Betty does not cry. After all, Sally was such a bad girl.

Bert Cooper dies of cirrhosis of the liver.

Devastated by Sally's death, Glen Bishop seeks out Betty's consolation - and chokes on one of her ham sandwiches.

Trudy Campbell's head gets eaten by one of her enormous hats.

Freddy Rumsen dies of cirrhosis of the liver.

Joan's husband Greg Harris is killed on his first day in Vietnam - not on the battlefield, but when a lady of the night gives him a disease that, as the world's worst doctor, he can't possibly cure.

Dr. Faye Miller calls upon her dad's mafia connections and arranges to have Don Draper "disappeared."

Roger Sterling dies of lung cancer. And cirrhosis of the liver.

But hey, if we let the writers kill a few of these guys, we should be able to revive at least one of our favorites, right? Our vote goes to Blankenship. Maybe she wasn't dead after all. Maybe she was just really, really tired of answering phones.

Your own ideas for annihilating other "Mad Men" characters are welcomed below. After all, the way Pete Campbell's been waving that rifle around, somebody's bound to get hurt.


Talks stall between 'Mad Men' creator Matt Weiner and AMC, Lionsgate

What to do while you're waiting for "Mad Men" to return

Full Show Tracker coverage of "Mad Men"

-- Melissa Maerz

'Mad Men' delayed until 2012 due to ongoing contract negotiations

Weiner Due to continuing contract negotiations between "Mad Men" creator Matt Weiner and AMC, the series will not return until early 2012, the network said on Tuesday. AMC announced that it has officially authorized production of the show's fifth season, triggering its option with "Mad Men's" production company, Lionsgate, but confirmed that the show won't be back until next year. "While we are getting a later start than in years past due to ongoing, key non-cast negotiations, 'Mad Men' will be back for a fifth season in early 2012," the network said in a statement.

But according to The Daily and Deadline Hollywood, many issues have yet to be resolved between the parties, including  AMC's desire to integrate more product placement into the series, add more commercials and trim the running time by two minutes. Two years ago, Weiner had a similar dispute with AMC over those two minutes, and both sides eventually agreed to let the episodes run over into the 11 p.m. time slot so that extra commerical time could be added without making the scripts any shorter. AMC has been using product placement in the series since its first season.

Sources tell Deadline Hollywood that Weiner is threatening that negotiations may collapse as a result of AMC's demands. Poised to become the highest-paid showrunner on basic cable, he is also looking for a deal that would pay him $15 million a year, or more than $1 million per episode.

Someone call Don Draper in to buy everyone a dry martini and help them broker this deal!


Photos: On the set of 'Mad Men'

What to do while you're waiting for 'Mad Men' to return to AMC

What are 'Mad Men' cast members doing between seasons? Geeking out!

--Melissa Maerz

Photo: Roger Sterling (John Slattery), Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Bertram Cooper (Robert Morse) in a scene from "Mad Men." Credit: Carin Baer / AMC.

What to do while you're waiting for 'Mad Men' to return to AMC

MadMen Yes, it's gonna be a while before you're gonna know if Joan's baby looks like Roger: AMC, Lionsgate and "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner are still negotiating for a fifth and sixth season of "Mad Men," though several places, including Variety and, have reported that they're close to a deal. (AMC and Lionsgate declined to comment.) Back in January, during the Television Critics Assn. press tour, AMC announced that the series would return for its fifth season, though no date was set for the premiere, and since then some have speculated that the show isn't likely to return before late 2011 or 2012. In the meantime, some of the show's stars are getting antsy. At the premiere of his  movie "The Adjustment Bureau," "Mad Men" silver fox John Slattery told reporters, "I'm looking for a job."

We know you're getting antsy too. So while you're waiting patiently for your boyfriend Don Draper to return to your living room, we have some suggestions on how to bide your time. You could listen to Don talk about making a new movie called "Friends With Kids." Or watch Betty shill for Jimmy Kimmel's Hottie Body Diet Plan. Or see Roger looking ominous in the video for the National's "Conversation 16." Or read about Peggy's performance in the current London revival of "The Children's Hour." Or laugh at Pete and Harry in the sketch "Mad Men on Trains."

Then again, you might just want to spend the next year or two staring at this. Go on. We'll forgive you.

— Melissa Maerz

Photo: Joan (Christina Hendricks) and Don (Jon Hamm) in "Mad Men." Credit: Carin Baer / AMC.

AMC brings back 'Mad Men,' 'Breaking Bad,' sets a date for 'The Killing'

Good news for "Mad Men" fans: On Friday, during the TCA press tour, AMC announced that the Emmy-winning series will return for Season 5. No date was announced for its season premiere. Fans have been a little worried ever since Rich Sommer, who plays Harry Crane, tweeted, “I have no idea if there will be a season 5 of MM. I am operating under the assumption that there won’t be, until I hear otherwise.” (He later followed up on his blog that it was "a safe bet — very safe bet — that the show will return in its usual fashion.")


AMC also promised that "Breaking Bad" would begin production for its fourth season on Jan. 13. “As we ramp up production for the next season of ‘Breaking Bad,’ we look forward to returning to Albuquerque, which serves as a perfect backdrop for the evolution of Walt White's character,” said Susie Fitzgerald, AMC's senior vice president of scripted development and current programming, in a statement. “Vince Gilligan and his team deliver bold storylines that truly deliver a mesmerizing, exhilarating television experience. We look forward to an incredible fourth season.”


In addition to those two favorites, AMC set a date for its next original series, “The Killing,”  which focuses on the murder of a young girl in Seattle and the police investigation that follows. Based on the Danish hit “Forbrydelsen," it will premiere on April 3. 


-- Melissa Maerz


Photo: Vincent Kartheiser, Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Elisabeth Moss and Jon Hamm in "Mad Men." Credit: Frank Ockenfels / Associated Press

What are 'Mad Men' cast members doing between seasons? Geeking out!

January-Portrait_0012 With many months to go before "Mad Men" returns to AMC for a fifth season, some of us are suffering from Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce withdrawal. To help tide us over, our sister blog Hero Complex has an interview with January Jones about her role as Emma Frost in "X-Men: First Class."

Although her "mutant telepath" character is miles away from Betty Draper, Jones was stunned to find that this installment of "X-Men" was set in the 1960s. But she says of her movie character, "She’s so, so far from Betty and from 'Mad Men,' and it takes place in that time but it doesn’t feel like a period movie.”

Jones says another big difference between the series and the movie is that "Mad Men" producers encouraged her to avoid working out to maintain a muscle-free '60s body -- whereas Emma Frost is a notorious cartoon bombshell who wears very skimpy outfits. "I'm thinking, 'I'm supposed to be doing crunches on the plane,'" she said. "How am I gonna get buff in one day? (For more conversation with Jones, check out the interview on Hero Complex.)

Jones isn't the only "Mad Men" star taking on a geektastic movie role. In late March, Jon Hamm will appear in Zack Snyder's retro-fantasy epic "Suckerpunch" as bad-guy lobotomist High Roller, while the other John -- John Slattery (a.k.a. Roger Sterling) -- shows up in the science-fiction romance "The Adjustment Bureau," based on a Philip K. Dick story. It stars Emily Blunt and Matt Damon and hits screens March 4.

Continue reading »

2010 Top Scripted TV Huh? Moments


We appreciate all of the hard work writers put into their TV shows. Here are some of the moments that left us wondering a bit.

1. "Lost": They're all dead and waiting to go to heaven. Depending on who you are, this was either a very good head-scratcher or a very bad one. We loved it, even though we're sad about what it means.

2. "The Walking Dead:" Zombies unseat vampires as the coolest non-humans on TV. It's not their fault they're zombies which makes us feel for them, though they freak us out.

3. "Mad Men:" Don Draper proposes to Megan. Whoa, Don! A little foreshadowing next time, please?

4. "Breaking Bad:" Walt goes from meek chemistry teacher to big-time drug dealer to murderer. Walter, you scare us. But you're never boring and for that we love you.

5. "Glee:" Mr. Schue kisses Coach Beiste. Enough said. 

6. "Sons of Anarchy:" Jackson and his half sister are discovered half-way down the incest road by their respective mothers. Double ick.

7. "True Blood:" Bill and Sookie break up. Again. Can't we all just get along?

8. "Dexter:" Someone accepts Dexter for all that he is. How nice. We like this one.

9.  "The Event:" Aliens. Really?  All that pre-game hype and they turned out to be aliens. Possible to start over?

10. "The Good Wife:" CBS goes all sexy on us in a surprising oral sex scene between Alicia and Peter. It sure made us blush -- and they didn't even show anything!

--Yvonne Villarreal and Maria Elena Fernandez

Photo: A scene from the "Lost" series finale. The castaways are waiting to go to heaven. (L-R) Ian Somerhalder, Elizabeth Mitchell, Josh Holloway, John Terry, Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, Sonya Walger, Henry Ian Cusick and Emilie de Ravin. Credit: ABC

2010 Favorite TV Duos


TV's full of wonderful pairings. It was hard to narrow it down to 10, so we offer you our Baker's dozen.

1. Sally and Glen of "Mad Men." Our dear Little Sally (played by Kiernan Shipka) has grown into a pre-teen -- one who likes boys. And Glenn (Marten Weiner) is the perfect crush candidate: he's a fellow kid of divorce AND her mother isn't fond of him. Plus, he gets Sally. And their phone calls kind of make us swoon.

2. Virginia and Burt of "Raising Hope." Martha Plimpton and Garret Dillahunt have amazing comedic chemistry together and are totally believebale as this hapless but loving couple.

3. Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) and Blake (Scott Porter) of "The Good Wife."  She's a badass with killer detective skills. He's a badass with killer detective skills. So, naturally, they're rivals--despite working for the same people. And we love every minute of their tortured chemistry.

4. Eric and Tami Taylor (Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton) of "Friday Night Lights." Is there a better husband and wife on TV? Not by a longshot.

5. Cameron and Mitchell (Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson). "Modern Family" is full of winning combinations but just for trying so hard to get Lily into a good daycare, we recognize this hilarious romantic pair. (Also: Mitchell's flash mob and Cameron's biker shorts).

6. Sue and Becky of "Glee." If you don't love the sweet and wise Becky, you have no heart. The sweet and sour combination of Lauren Potter and Jane Lynch is one of "Glee's" best gifts to its fans. (Campaign for Becky as ruler of the free world starts now).

7. Mike and Molly of "Mike & Molly." The only thing excessive about this couple is their adorableness factor. He buys her tubs of shampoo and conditioner. She puts up with his overbearing mother. Together, they bring RomCom moments to the small screen every week. We're dreading the day when there's trouble in paradise.

8. LaFayette and Jesus of "True Blood." Besides all the hotness this pair exudes, how can we not be happy for LaFayette after all he's been through? Who cares if his new man is a brujo? Kudos to Nelson Ellis and Kevin Alejandro.

9. Jacob and the Man in Black on "Lost." Mark Pellegrino and Titus Welliver's mental chess game was riveting to watch. Why couldn't they both be right?

10. Raylan and Boyd of "Justified." Who needs Blair and Serena? Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins play the best frenemies on TV these days.

11. Olivia and Peter of "Fringe." Finally! There is love on "Fringe." We realize technically it was between Bolivia (Anna Torv) and Peter (Joshua Jackson) but there is hope.

12. Hank and Britt of "Terriers." What makes the cancellation of this FX series so heart-breaking is how wonderful these two actors were together. Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James need to be cast on another show together pronto.

13. Lisa and Giggy of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." For weeks we've been oh-too-happy to get jiggy with Giggy. The miniature pooch and his loveable owner, Lisa Vanderpump, put Danielle Staub and her yanked weave to shame. The Gigga man even has his own Twitter account.



--Yvonne Villarreal and Maria Elena Fernandez

Photo: Kiernan Shipka and Marten Weiner as Sally and Glen on "Mad Men." Credit: AMC

Fictional mystery writer in 'Castle' creates another real bestseller with 'Naked Heat'

NakedHeat It's not exactly a novel idea to create a TV show based on a bestseller ("True Blood," "Dexter," "Gossip Girl"), but turning a plot device into a bestselling book has become a popular trend in prime time (but not a new one). ABC's quirky crime drama "Castle" has churned out two bestsellers: "Heat Wave" (16 weeks on New York Times list), and its sequel, "Naked Heat" (No. 19 on Los Angeles Times list), which were used in key storylines. Carolyn Kellogg examines this publishing phenomena in Friday's Calendar section.

Publishing the books was a natural progression as "Castle's" premise began with a serial killer imitating the plots of the show's star, famous mystery writer Richard Castle's books. The charming, wise-cracking novelist (played with panache by Nathan Fillion) and the tough, sexy, NYPD Det. Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), whom he accompanies to crimes scenes to assist in solving cases, exchange innuendo-filled banter reminiscent of David and Maddie in "Moonlighting".

Other shows have experimented with this type of cross marketing with varying degrees of success.

In 2001, HarperEntertainment published a novel featured on the NBC soap opera "Passions." "Hidden Passions: Secrets from the Diaries of Tabitha Lenox," tied into a storyline that involved characters promoting the book that exposed secrets of the locals. It reached No. 4 on the New York Times bestseller list.

 "Lost" fans were treated to "Bad Twin" (Hyperion), written by fictitious author Gary Troup, a supposed passenger on the doomed Oceanic Flight 815. His draft, turned in before he boarded the flight, contained secrets to several castaways lives.

Last month, womanizer Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris), star of the CBS hit sitcom "How I Met Your Mother," wrote (along with staff writer Matt Kuhn) "The Playbook: Suit Up. Score Chicks. Be Awesome." (Touchstone).

Most recently, Grove Press issued the "reprinting" of "Sterling's Gold: Wit & Wisdom of an Ad Man," the long lost musings of "Mad Men's" silver haired ad exec Roger Sterling.

"Castle" is taking the cross marketing one step further, venturing onto the soundstages of Hollywood. An upcoming episode follows the crew to L.A. where the movie version on "Heat Wave" is being filmed. Laura Prepon ("That 70's Show") has been cast as the actress hired to play Nikki Heat (aka Beckett) who follows the detective around as she tries to solve a murder.

Fillionx   Bateman2x


And just who does Richard Castle think should play the fictional magazine journalist, Jameson Rook, in the "Naked Heat" movie?

"If it were up to him, he'd have George Clooney," said executive producer Andrew W. Marlowe. "But it'd probably be Jason Bateman because of the resemblance." Perhaps a clue to upcoming stunt casting?

Who do you think should play Castle? 

 -- Liesl Bradner

Top image: Cover of "Naked Heat." Credit: Associated Press

Bottom photos: Actor Nathan Fillion, left, and Jason Bateman. Credit: Getty Images


Richard Castle's elaborate fiction




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