Mar 292011
 

Matt Weiner is on a short vacation with his family, but wanted to make sure to get a statement out through Basket of Kisses. Here’s what he said.

“There’s been a lot of speculation and misinformation in the press about what is going on. 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.”

Matt then assured us that no matter what happens next, Basket of Kisses will hear it first (so watch this space).

Although time was short, we had a couple of follow-up questions. We asked about negotiations with AMC; how long had they been going on?

Matt: “We didn’t have an actual conversation until three weeks ago.”

Then we asked about the thing about cutting two cast members. Matt confirmed (as reported by The Wrap) that the actual request was to cut two cast members per season, so it would have been at least six people. (Roberta and I then started joking it would be the “Don and Sally Show.” Oy vey!)

Matt: “Even though people have left the show, none of that has ever been about money…I’ve brought the show in on budget. I’ve been a good producer.” We had a little chat, at that point, about the ways in which a producer trims the budget, with some interesting examples which we won’t get into now.

I asked Matt about the $30 million dollar number that’s been floating around, and generating gossip. Which is more important, I asked, the number or the cast?

Matt: “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.”

We asked, if there’s anything the fans could do, what could it be?

Matt: “Everyone can hold on, and we’ll see if it’s necessary, but of course I would want them to express their feelings. 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. It’s surpassed everything I would ever have expected.”

So, again, whatever happens next, you’ll hear about it first here, at Basket of Kisses, and Matt wants you all to know that you have made this creative endeavor a true joy, one he really, really hopes will continue.

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  120 Responses to ““Don’t worry, I’m fighting for the show””

  1. From our Lipps to AMC’s ears!

  2. Wow … the Basket makes news people …. awesome job, Deb and Roberta …. amazing to get this straight from Matt. Have to wonder what’s up with AMC’s M.O. here ….

    • I think they just don’t get it, Coop, I think they just don’t appreciate the artistry at some level. That’s just my opinion, but really, there’s so much money in this, they’re fighting over money. All that noise about ratings is nonsense; they wouldn’t be fighting so hard if they didn’t have dollars in their eyes.

  3. Wow, is right. Thanks, ladies.

  4. Fantastic work, Deb and Roberta (AND MATT)! <3

    If anyone wants to start a send-a-cigarette, send-an-airport-mini, send-a-cracker (VK! VK!!) drive to AMC/ Lionsgate HQ, I’m down with that.

    Love and thanks to our fabulous Lipp sisters. And to our showrunner and his family (for giving him time, while on vacation, to do this interview) as well! :)

  5. Good get, but a bit of an anticlimax, though I don’t know what I could have possibly expected.

    Sucks that AMC took the option. Would’ve been better to let the show bolt to one of the premium networks and let Matt go to town. Starz badly needs an anchor program, now that Spartacus has cancer.

    Keep up the good fight, Matt.

    tws

  6. Oh Matt Thank you for all your nice word and choosing Basket to clarify things! We’ll stand by your side forever!

    Thank you a lot Debb for doing this! I’ll definitely watch it closely to see what happens next.

    Maybe it’s time we start sending out angry fan letters promising to boycott AMC if they continue to play games.

    • jd, it’s not yet time. Let’s not go pissing them off while they’re still negotiating.

  7. Thank you so much, Deborah, Roberta, and Matt.

    I believe Matt that he truly cares about the cast and not wanting to lose anyone. It’s true what he said that people have left the show but it wasn’t money-related. When characters left, it was because he felt that was the right thing to do storyline-wise. For instance, Sal’s interesting arc. Much as we love Sal, the way the storyline was written, Sal had to leave the agency. I truly believe that Matt may bring him back in time, maybe in later seasons, if he can find a valid way to work him in. (And I really hope this happens!!) Same with Paul and some of the characters that we haven’t seen lately. If it makes sense to bring them in later, for storyline purposes, I trust Matt that he definitely will.

    As for the main remaining cast. That’s where I’m sure it gets a little murkier. Betty is still a part of the show but maybe not as big a part of the show as she once was. Same with Roger. Yet January Jones and John Slattery have always been among the starring cast. Could they possibly be downgraded to supporting/recurring? Would that be too hard to do, too painful to do? Something I wonder about. I don’t know how that works and if the actors would ever be willing to do that.

    Anyway, there is a lot to think about. Like most people here, I truly adore the show and I’m glad to see how conscientious Matt is about all of this. I hope everything works out well !!!

  8. Many thanks to Matt and the Lipp X 2. Wonderful to have the truth about something we all care about so much. Hang in there Matt…we got your back…

  9. Wonderfully blunt statements here, and very important to us fans. Weiner knows who really butters his bread, and I had no doubt before that the $30 million offer was in relation to AMC’s demands-more money for Weiner, more money for them, everybody wins, right? But that crimps artistic integrity and the natural flow of the show by forcing him to dump characters before their full story arch is even realized.

    If I were him, I wouldn’t bend either.
    Here’s hoping good news quickly follows all this mess….

  10. Don’t compromise Matt! We can wait if that is what it takes.

  11. Wow, what a scoop!

    Good on Matt for fighting the good fight here to keep the cast on board.

  12. WOW!!! Glad to hear he really is, still, as passionate about the show as we Basketcases are. By the endless other moronic threads out there saying ” It’s all about the money for Matt Weiner”, instead of an artist who won’t compromise for commerce. Call him a blowhard if you want to, but don’t call him a sellout. GLEE! I’m talking to you.

  13. Thanks, ladies, and thanks, Matt! Nice to hear straight from the horse’s mouth. I’m bummed that we’ll have to wait another whole year for new shows, but Matt’s voice is worth the wait.

  14. MAD CHICK – I just had that same Betty/Roger January/John S. conversation with another fan!!!

  15. #16 For the Love of Pete: and it’s not that I would want to lose either one of them, as I like what they bring to the show. But I think in some ways, neither character is quite as important, storyline-wise, as they were in earlier seasons. So I could viably see them becoming more supporting characters. But I suppose it’s much easier to say, “__ is a supporting character” (or a recurring character) than to formally change the actor’s billing and pay level.

  16. As always, BoK on top of what really matters. Thank you and big thanks to Matt for telling it straight.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to go to bed tonight and wake up a year from now for the S5 premiere? 2011, so over you already. With respect to those fans eagerly anticipating new seasons of BB, WD and BE, the rest of us probably won’t miss anything other than natural disasters, political strife, three wars and Charlie Sheen.

  17. Lane Pryce.
    Bert Cooper.

    They can both go now…their time is about over anyway.

  18. I just don’t understand this: “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.”

    It makes no sense for the network to take the stance he says they’re taking.

  19. I had a feeling, when the AMC/Rainbow Media thing happened, that something like this might be in the offing.

    I really don’t want to go all roll-tape, let’s-look-at-how-we-got-here, in this thread — don’t want to be all “Matt Weiner MADE YOU, AMC” — but that is honestly how I feel. It’s big frustration. I love Mad Men, and I sense these people trying to dumb the show down or change it in ways that don’t make sense, and that just enrages me.

    What I will say? That for a Matt Weiner product, I will wait. I will wait until whenever he says it’s ready to go. I’ll circle that date on my calendar and cancel everything else around it and make the watch date with my big sister. I don’t care if it’s a year from NOW.

    For the right guy, I’m patient. (You may check my references on this.)

    But if that’s not a Matt Weiner product? If it’s just season five of something AMC thinks I want to see, with none of that narrative magic behind it, those things working all at once that get my subconscious going at three in the morning?

    If it’s just some flat, glossy nothing? I will be able to tell. And I will not watch.

    Remember, AMC, Rainbow Media: Story Matters Here. Most, if not all, of us fans can tell the difference.

  20. #19 Bert yes but not my Lane! They haven’t done enough with his character IMO.

    I understand that AMC is a business and that they have to worry about profits. But don’t they realize that, unlike those who watch various procedural shows on other networks, the people who watch THIS show watch it for it’s creative excellence and not just b/c it’s “entertaining?”

    Kill the creativity, kill the show, period. MM cannot be formulaic or it no longer will be Mad Men and there will no longer be a reason to watch the show.

  21. Two characters per SEASON? Really??

    As it is, in S4 Lane, Ken, Harry, and Bert were more “recurring” than regular; we saw about as much of them as we did of smarmy Stan and dippy Danny. (I’ll never forget that scene with Bert Cooper sitting in the lobby with his stocking feet up on the table, munching an apple, like, “Yeah, he’s still alive, but that’s about it.”) But they really want an agency with no employees? What kind of BS is that?

    I wonder if they were suggesting that Megan be one of the cuts, like, “Oh, Don’s home life is pure bliss now, nobody needs to see that.” Yeah, suuurrrre.

  22. I agree, Meowser, if you’re talking about characters you can’t just cut them out arbitrarily. It has to make sense for the plot(s). Obviously some characters (Don, Peggy) are more essential than others. But if you start getting rid of too many people, that doesn’t make sense either. It wouldn’t make sense in a boardroom meeting if Ken wasn’t sometimes there (it can’t always be Pete), or if Harry wasn’t there, etc.

    I’d be curious to know exactly what was intended by the cuts. Especially since almost everyone on Mad Men plays a different role. It would be different if it was a show about lawyers where everyone was a lawyer. You can often get rid of a couple of the attorneys. When you have bosses and account execs and writers and artists (and office managers, and husbands, and wives), it’s rather different.

  23. A lot of the characters’ husbands and wives play a very minor role, anyway. Mad Men always gives Alison Brie a very nice before-the-show-starts credit, but she was on….maybe three episodes last season? And pretty briefly each time.

    ETA: IMDB says she was on five episodes in Season 4–I hadn’t realized. But again, pretty brief appearances every time, as I recall.

  24. I want to buy it, but I can’t.

    Matt Weiner absolutely has to fight for his cast. There’s a 90% chance I’d be heartbroken if they lost any of the characters–I’m still surprised at how much I want Kinsey to show up, or Sal for that matter. However, I’m a little surprised at how hard he’s fighting against the other two sticking points.

    I would rather lose a few minutes of ‘Mad Men’ a week than ‘Mad Men’ altogether. Is it ideal? Nope. Would I be disappointed? Yeah. I’m always disappointed when an episode ends.

    As for product placement, come on. This is a show about advertising. If the most talented writers in Hollywood can’t figure out a way to feature product placement in an unobtrusive way each episode, then they’re just not willing to try. Is it noble? Nope. Is it intrusive into the creative process? Yep. But so are a lot of things. By bringing this into the open, though, should he cave on that request, people will have their eye out for the placements, and start kvetching when they spot them. So now product integration is going to be that much harder to do. And no, product placement does not have to make a show formulaic or bland. Hell, even losing two characters over the next season wouldn’t be impossible to work in in a dramatic, engaging way. Bummer for the actors, of course, but that’s show-business.

    And you know what, I call bullshit on some of what he said. BULLSHIT that he has nothing to do with the delay. “We didn’t actually have a conversation until about three weeks ago.”? There’s been consternation for every renewal thus far. If he didn’t expect the conversation to be a bitter struggle…then what the heck is going on there? It’s his baby. He’s responsible for it. So he is responsible for the delay. And there’s no reason we can’t be as unified as Browncoats, so really, why he’s not sounding the bugle and telling us to mobilize more directly is beyond me.

    I love this show so much. I’ll fight how I can. I really will. But I would rather Matt Weiner compromise than lose our show for the moral high ground. ‘Mad Men’ is always going to be my favourite show, slightly warped or no.

  25. I recommend a barrage of tweets to @AMC demanding our show.
    Elise

  26. MAD CHICK & MEOWSER – Ditto & ditto. Having these exact arguments with myself & non posting fans! Unless AMC/Lionsgate think the ultimate end to the MM story after 7 seasons is Peggy at Don’s side in a boutique Hoboken firm specializing in integrity.

  27. Tim Goodman (The Hollywood Reporter) agrees:

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/bastard-machine/dont-blame-matthew-weiner-mad-172341

    “Pay the man. It’s that simple.”

  28. #26 MARI – agree with you on product placement as long ad those products are Arm & Hammer baking soda, Pepto-Bismal, and Tang, because I don’t see Don walking in with an IPAD under his arm.

    Delays…Networks (Boss) call meetings for negotiations not employees (MW)

  29. Mari, it’s not a matter of “figuring out” how to do product placement. Some evidence exists (although with no confirmation) that some brands have already ponied up, like Disney last year. It’s that they want MORE product placement, which leads to issues of purchasing clients having veto power over scripting. It’s a show that hinges heavily on conflicts with clients; can you imagine if Lucky Strike had bought placement on the show, and wanted them to dump the Lee Garner Jr. character because it made them look bad? Or Samsonite deciding they didn’t want their brand name associated with Don puking or Duck squatting over a chair?

  30. @ For the Love of Pete

    A delay for the *call* to negotiations is often a warning sign in and of itself, because it means either that there’s quarrelling within that other faction…or they’re steeling themselves for a big fight. If he knew things were running behind schedule, then that’s time he could’ve spent sending out, hell, a tweet even, saying ‘Ask AMC what’s up with our not negotiating already!’. I agree with every writer out there saying that ‘Mad Men’ made AMC worth watching. Just waiting for the conversation to start seems kinda ball-less to me.

    • Anne, thanks, that was Roberta. Mari, there has been talk for weeks that the delay has been a fight between AMC and Lionsgate over how the pie is divided. The low numbers don’t mean low money; far from it. I just checked, the MM season 4 DVDs are #1 in sales across multiple categories in Amazon.

  31. @ Meowser

    And if it came down to veto power, that would be a terrible thing. I would hate that as much as anybody, and go to the mattresses.

    But at the table, he could’ve at least negotiated for terms suitable. He’s still the king of the show that made AMC. If he mobilizes not only us, but his cast, he can fight the good fight. But I’m not sure that this statement to BoK is doing it yet.

  32. BTW, ladies … the new tagline ROCKS. :)

  33. I just don’t get it. AMC hit the jackpot when they got MadMen. The PILOT of Boardwalk Empire is rumored to have cost 18 million. Why would a network be willing to throw money at a show and then insist on making cuts that would jeapordize the entire foundation of the show? Something just doesn’t add up.

    Crikey. This just makes me sad that HBO didn’t get off their ass and see Mad Men for what it was out of the gate.

  34. Eliminating two characters per season: piece of cake.

    (We are talking The Walking Dead here, aren’t we?)

  35. Any chance we’ll get to read the rest of the interview? I’d like to know what the previous cost-cuttng measures were.

    • Derby Day, probably. The interview was very short, and this is what I typed while I was on the phone. It was faster than transcribing the digital recording and you all were waiting.

  36. [...] Weiner al New York Times. “Estoy peleando por el elenco y por el show”, dijo en esta entrevista, en la que se muestra algo desconcertado por el rumbo que tomó la negociación y las reacciones [...]

  37. Matt Weiner and his cast and crew are artists and it is such a tragedy that they are being forced to compromise by the “powers that be” Mad Men is the smartest show on tv right now; every detail is perfect. I just finished watching the first 3 seasons for the fifth time and I still get something new every time I watch it. I am so disappointed to hear that we have to wait for a whole year for the new season, but I am grateful to Basket of Kisses for getting to the truth of the matter. Thank you and congratulations!

  38. Wow!! Great job, Deb and Roberta. And thanks to Matt for taking time out of his vacation to answer questions.

    There are things that we’ll probably never be privvy to about these talks; but I will always admire a person for wanting to hold on to their artistic control. It’s just sad that it even came to this.

  39. time for HBO to wake up from their multi year coma and snatch up MM…..

  40. Anne, it wasn’t me, it was my friend George upthread.

  41. I was a bit confused about Matt being told he had to let go 2 actors for 3 seasons. Is that right? Did that mean 2 for S4, and then S5 & 6?

  42. Oh, piffle! Why doesn’t AMC just open the show to corporate sponsorship a la Masterpiece Theater on PBS? You know, there must be any number of advertising agencies who would appreciate the irony (and the attention) of “this episode of Mad Men brought to you with limited commercial interruption by Saatchi Group” or something. Seriously, I could see AMC crying poverty when Mad Men was first created – maybe – but they have MM, Breaking Bad, Walking Dead and more coming online and their advertising revenue must be, for cable, through the roof at this point. So why in the world would they squawk about 2 minutes and fewer commercials when they can charge a heckuva lot more now than 4 years ago for commercial time. And cutting characters? I always thought that was up to the series creator. The execs must have come out of soap opera television where actors can be used interchangeably (“the role of Susie Q will be played today by Martha Muffett”) as if we wouldn’t notice, like Darrin Stevens.

  43. Someone..all of us …need to remind AMC that it was a NOTHING..really a NOTHING…till Mad Men!!!!

    It will return to NOTHING status of junk crap shows if Mad Men does not continue.

  44. [...] been a lot of speculation and misinformation in the press about what is going on,” he tells Basket of Kisses. “I want the fans to know directly from me that I had nothing to do with this delay and it is [...]

  45. Greed will kill this show. keep this up and the interest of the show will fade in to the darkness.

  46. Waiting around a year for the show is bad enough. Reducing John Slattery’s screen time would make me blow a gasket! Not going to happen and not an option.

    No offense to January, but I wouldn’t mind seeing less of Betty. Season 4 was nicely reduced for her character.

  47. I think it’s great that he fights so hard for his cast. I always remember that Rollingstone article that called them all a band of Hollywood misfits who somehow found each other and success — Matt is one of those misfits and it is SO NOT his style to leave castmembers behind if it doesn’t make sense to the story.

  48. [...] dalle pagine di Basket of Kisses, Matthew Weiner chiarifica ulteriormente la questione, facendo intendere che le cose non stiano [...]

  49. [...] an agreement with AMC and production company Lionsgate comes soon. (In an interview late Tuesday, Weiner himself said he has been asked to cut six [...]

  50. Lianne, 2 actors for season 5, 2 more for season 6, 2 more for season 7.

  51. The fourth-from-last paragraph in the NYTimes story covering the negotiations:

    People in Mr. Weiner’s camp, meanwhile, deflected blame for the delay and suggested that AMC never intended to start Season 5 before March 2012. Thanks largely to “Mad Men,” which had an average of nearly three million viewers per episode, AMC has become well known for its cable dramas, and it has several other shows that it wants to put on its schedule this year.

    This is the closest thing I’ve seen that possibly explains AMC’s actions, particularly Matt’s assertion that he offers to cut his salary to keep the actors and minutes in the show, and AMC keeps upping his salary offer (i.e. seemingly irrational behavior).

  52. Wow…cutting SIX characters? How many of us are already longing for just a glimpse of Paul Kinsey or Sal Romano — or more Betty, more Joan, etc.? The show barely has six main characters as it is. Doesn’t AMC know that this is the most beloved, unique cast in television?!?!?

    Keep fighting, Matt! The integrity and quality of this show’s writing & acting can’t be sacrificed. Sometimes a show comes along where all the pieces add up to more than the sum of their parts, and that’s magic. Take away any key ingrediant, any key actor or character, and it won’t work. We are on your side!

  53. The talk about what AMC was or wasn’t before Mad Men is not relevant to this deal. It’s about what Mad Men can do for AMC in the future.

    Not clear to me if the problem is there’s so much money being fought over as Matt has said, or not that much money to fight over.

  54. While I prepare a post at MY blog about your post at your blog lemme just say … Give the guy what he wants for the show and get him back to work. I know what is happening here. AMC doesn’t want to set a precedent with Weiner for fear of having to cave to Vince Gilligan or Frank Darabont, who are very much like Matt in that they want things for the show, not for themselves.

    AMC wouldn’t have this “problem” if Mad Men had not been exactly the show that Weiner wants it to be, so they should shut up and relent on this.

    And now back to Prince Harry diving into the frozen waters of the Arctic Circle. I hear his hair changes color when he does that. Royals, huh?

  55. I started watching AMC for two reasons–Breaking Bad and Mad Men…and it was Mad Men that brought me to the network in the first place. I love Mad Men. It’s absolutely brilliant and wonderfully creative. If anything, I’ve been hoping it would move to a premium network simply to remove ALL commercials. Commercials ruin the flow of the show. Have you ever watched an episode on DVD? It’s fantastic going straight through for an hour (and upsetting when it ends!) This show definitely has the ability to run without commercial interruption…period.

    It’s truly unfortunate that AMC won’t (or can’t financially afford) to do so. It’s a show about advertising and it’s interesting to see old school products from brands we still use today. There has to be a way to have product placement in the background of the show! (i.e. Betty in the kitchen, Joan running the office, Peggy out on a night on the town, Don concealing something, etc.) Considering the show’s history, the writer’s are obviously talented. The hard part–sustaining an audience–is done. There is a big demand for this show…no question. Please let the writer’s do their job and work their magic. The success of this show greatly relies of the writers and the heart of the show, Matt Weiner. Please leave the creativity to them. If not, face the wrath of the audience who WILL STOP watching.

    Regardless of why, it’s terribly upsetting that characters are being dismissed and/or leaving. Now I understand why for creative reasons, but I would love to see them come back, even if it’s just for an episode or two. Bring back Sal! (Miss him dearly!) Bring back Paul! “Bring back” Bert, Betty and Roger (miss all his good one liners!)” They may still be there, but not nearly enough. They are interesting characters and I want to see them as a crucial part of the story as Don, Peggy and Joan…don’t you dare go messing with any of them now, especially my Joan! I myself am a curvy woman and I love what she’s done for the self esteem of curvy ladies out there. Thank you Christina!

    I sincerely hope it isn’t long before the next season airs. For goodness sake, I just got my roommate roped in to starting the series but it’s kinda hard to sell with the show’s current status. Like the other fans, I to will wait…hopefully not too long. Hang in there!

  56. I don’t doubt that MM will return. What concerns me is that AMC is the network broadcasting it.

    AMC used to show movies in their entirety, just as TCM still does. When they began to insert commercials into their films–I turned off AMC–and only watched it again when “Mad Men” began airing in 2007. That is their record and it is one that brings shame to AMC because they have no respect for the art of film.

    This last season of MM disturbed me by dropping old characters who formed the backbone of Sterling-Cooper, and by bringing in too many new and quickly forgotten ones. (Bethany Van Nuys?). The idea of killing off more regulars is not a wonderful prospect.

    I don’t care about gossip concerning the creator’s ego or how much profit the network will make. What I do care about is the artistic integrity of “Mad Men”, and allowing Weiner to continue to do what he does best without squeezing every last cent out of the show.

  57. FYI, this blog was linked as the source in an EW article about Matt Weiner — well done, ladies!

    http://insidetv.ew.com/2011/03/30/matthew-weiner-defends-mad-men-standoff/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

  58. Anne B – Thanks for the link to the excellent Tim Goodman article. His insight into this mess is right on! AMC is being petty & when the business end of this particular business does that, it is always a big mistake. Matt, let us know when you’re ready to send in the fans…

  59. Before we go ahead and make the guy a saint and demonize AMC further, please remember what he did to the writing staff when he wanted a raise last time and AMC didn’t pony up: He took a co-writing credit on all of the scripts he didn’t do solo.

    Now, for you folks who aren’t familiar with the industry, this means he got half the writing fees the writers get for their scripts. He also rendered their scripts useless as writing samples to get other work because those scripts will not be representative of what writers can produce when given a solo script.

    An executive producer is very well compensated for his efforts. He gets the executive producer credit. He also gets all of the media attention and acclaim for the show. He relies on a writing staff to help him get there because the sheer volume of work is simply too much for one man, particularly on a show like Mad Men.

    Generally, the executive producer/showrunner does a final pass on a script to address issues of tone, voice, etc (in addition to all of the feedback he gives during the writing process). That’s what makes the show ‘his.’

    Go surf through IMDB (an industry database) and look at the writing credits on shows such as The Sopranos or Sex in the City. David Chase didn’t hog credit or scripts. Neither did Michael Patrick King. They both were showrunners on series that enjoyed a great deal of critical acclaim for their unique visions.

    So shed no tears for Matthew Weiner. He’s doing just fine. And he’s certainly winning the PR battle. (And no, before the pile-on starts, I’m not a current/former writer on Mad Men or a shill for AMC. I’m just someone who works in the industry and is a huge fan of the series.)

    • Tina, although you say you’re not a shill, posting using a fake email address and multiple usernames makes me suspicious. Just sayin’.

  60. Carol, Tim Goodman’s premise that AMC should pay Weiner for the past makes no more sense than Weiner giving all the money back had the show flopped.

  61. #62, carol, you’re welcome!

    Another great Goodman column, on how to improve awards shows (I agree with every word of this one too), is here: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/how-fix-awards-shows-no-167413

    And Mike S., I think Tim makes an excellent point. In this situation, AMC is like the kid who was born on third base and thinks he’s hit a homer. They simply had no content before Matt brought it to them — and their marquee hit, Mad Men, came from inside his head. Each success that has followed has been a matter of (1) that same marquee-hit audience looking for the same magic in the same place, or (2) luck.

    For AMC to think they can duplicate the magic that made Mad Men happen, for even one season, under conditions that do not include him?

    Nuts.

  62. “For AMC to think they can duplicate the magic that made Mad Men happen, for even one season, under conditions that do not include him? Nuts.”

    Of course they can. There is a self-contradictory aspect to your and Tim’s logic that says the network that had the wisdom to hire Matt Weiner doesn’t have the wisdom to hire a producer and create a hit.

  63. “AMC is like the kid who was born on third base and thinks he’s hit a homer.”

    That is one confused kid :)

  64. What about Sal? Carla? The great shows: M*A*S*H, All in the Family, Upstairs, Downstairs, LOST, Sopranos, Mary Tyler Moore all had many characters who came in and out of their lives.

    Why not delete two of the Ten Commandmants?

  65. Seriously, Miss Vicki? Comparing episodes of Mad Men to the writings of God delivered through Moses? Is Matt Weiner supposed to be Moses?

    …Seriously?

    Mike S., you’ve got it on the nosey. Let’s say that Matt Weiner walked away. That’s a sad story. It’s a tragedy. But do you really think for the quality of the rest of the cast and crew that the show will disintegrate? With this much money and fame and the best goddamned writing material for its stars? We love our ‘Mad Men’. And despite all the protestations here, if Matt wasn’t the show-runner anymore, most of the members of this site would still watch. We love smoking (so to speak).

  66. Because AMC wants SIX of the Ten Commandments, two each per next three seasons

  67. Actually, Mari, I wouldn’t. (Watch, that is.) As I have said in the previous thread, and in this one.

    I also write for this site. So, without Matt, at least some of the content you’ve been accustomed to reading here would go away.

    Just wanted to make sure we were clear on that. When there’s nothing of quality to watch, there’s nothing of quality to write.

  68. Not many fan fiction writers can approach, equal or surpass the original creator’s style, vision, storyline and in-depth knowledge of his/her characters. (Peter David does this well for Star Trek, but he’s an exceptional writer anyway.)

    So yes, AMC could try to produce a passable Mad Men, using the same sets and actors, maybe even some co-writers from the past. But without Matt Weiner’s unique insight into this particular story, it’s faux Mad Men – and would dissolve into soap opera before our very eyes (something it’s already been labeled by the casual viewer.)

  69. I’m sorry to hear that, Anne B.

    I just think it’s rather binary to think that Matt Weiner is the only reason that the quality hasn’t nose-dived into a dumpster somewhere. I want Matt Weiner to win, I want him to get what he’s holding out for, but if he doesn’t, I am not going to swear off the show. It’ll move down my priority viewing list behind ‘Boardwalk Empire’ and ‘Breaking Bad’, but I’ll still watch.

  70. Yeah, that’s the real fear Anne B.: That you won’t continue to write here any more. . . (?)

    I agree with you, Mari. There’s some awesome hyperbole being thrown around here!

  71. #67 Deborah, I notice you’re not challenging the substance of my remarks. Just sayin’.

  72. I tried watching Breaking Bad during the first season and just could not get beyond my disbelief of the whole setup (maybe because I have several family members who work in law enforcement – hard not to guffaw at some things or shout back at the TV at something Walt did that in real life he would never survive.) I decided it was more like a Marquez magic realism novel. I mean seriously, shouldn’t he have died of his advanced lung cancer by now?

  73. No, Floretta, he’s in remission. I love that show as much as Mad Men, unpopular opinion as that apparently is.

  74. I love ‘Boardwalk Empire’ as well as I love ‘Mad Men’. I didn’t think I would when I got started, but GOD is the Huston acting dynasty well represented in this generation. Not to mention the rest of the fabulousness.

    Kitty, you’ve got chutzpah. I like you.

  75. To clarify one point of view regarding the worthiness of Mad Men sans Matt Weiner, for long-time (read: jaded) television watchers, there’s a wayyyyyy long list of shows that tanked – and I mean TANKED – the moment their creators left.

    I’m sure there’s an example or two of the exact opposite happening, but I’d put my chips on a large reduction in quality should Matt not be with the show.

    Further, I’d suggest that the more prominent the creator is to the original success of the show, the steeper the drop from its heights.

  76. It’s a bit of a tangent altogether. AMC can prosper without Weiner *and* without Mad Men, putting its resources into other shows and finding new hits. I hope they settle with Matt and keep Mad Men, I’m completely hooked on it. But the idea that Weiner needs to be paid retroactively, or that the network that discovered Mad Men cannot possibly replicate the magic, or that somehow all that they’ve achieved in 4 seasons goes away without a 5th, doesn’t make sense.

  77. I agree with Kitty #20–it doesn’t make sense. Why would they require two characters per season to be cut and yet keep offering Matt more money? The characters are what the show IS. I sure hope January Jones isn’t let go. Betty Draper is crucial. If the delay is not about money, then why is AMC delaying it til 2012? We fans live for Mad Men. Even CNN’s Anderson Cooper interjected a plea about the show during his coverage of serious world problems, saying he would be “inconsolable” if Mad Men were to disappear.

  78. [...] au site de fans Basket of Kisses, Weiner a insisté sur le fait qu’il se battait pour le bien de la série et non pour [...]

  79. [...] deal worth $30 million, so his salary isn’t the issue this time around. He said so himself, perhaps worried that it appeared he was banking $30 million and refusing to budge an inch. (Which [...]

  80. Thanks for the updates ladies and staying on top of this story!

  81. What I really would’ve preferred from the Hollywood Reporter would be some reporting. How profitable is Mad Men?

  82. #83

    As has been made clear numerous times already, AMC has four series to air this year, two of which are making their debuts. The Killing and Breaking Bad have been on schedule long before these negotiation ever started, and The Walking Dead has become network’s biggest moneymaker by far, attracting more than twice the viewership that Mad Men does while also being owned by AMC Studios (which means they don’t have to split profits with a Lionsgate or a Sony). Hell on Wheels, for now, remains somewhat of a mystery, but I think its thematic similarities with Deadwood should ensure that it starts off well in the ratings.

    But the fact is that Mad Men remains a stable quantity, having obtained decent ratings and generating high DVD/Blu-Ray sales for a few years now. The fact is, the show will never obtain 6 million viewers like TWD’s finale did. But because it is a niche show unlike anything else on American TV, people will return to it regardless of when season 5 returns, and whether or not Weiner is at the helm. The five or six people who claim that Weiner is the soul of the show may or may not be right (I for one wouldn’t call American shows as auteur-driven as European ones), but they are in the minority when it comes to placing so much emphasis on a single person.

    Berlin Alexanderplatz and Dekalog – now those are two shows which could have been only made by Ingmar Bergman and Krysztof Kieslowski. I’m not sure that Weiner is *that* irreplaceable/talented. Two of the very best episodes of season 4, “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword” and ‘Blowing Smoke,” were apparently written without Weiner’s intensive consultation.

  83. Sorry, I meant to write down Rainer Fassbinder. I was thinking about Fanny & Alexander, which I coincidentally just watched last weekend. The fact remains that Weiner doesn’t necessarily possess talent that is at their level, or even the level of a David Simon.

  84. Thanks, Mari. I like you, too!

    #89: AMC’s other shows might explain why they don’t mind pushing Mad Men to 2012, but they don’t explain why AMC would keep offering Weiner more money in order to cut characters. That’s absolutely nonsensical, and I find it hard to believe.

  85. The delay and uncertainty of the start of season 5 will have the same effect as losing two characters per year. I’m sure that some of the actors, writers and crew will opt for other projects in film or tv if they think the grass is greener (or at least more reliable). Slattery & Jones have made the move to feature films. Others, like A. Brie, can now be found in other regular TV series. While turnover is natural for a successful show like MM, this prolonged negotiation will accelerate the loss of key personnel. Pity.

  86. “One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly.”
    Nietzsche

  87. I’m not worried about Mad Men, Matt “Whiner”. I’m done.

  88. [...] Men: Show runner Matt Weiner released a statement to Mad Men fansite Basket of Kisses about the recent drama surrounding the show’s renewal. He tells fans he is “fighting [...]

  89. [...] Weiner  gave an interview to Mad Men blog Basket of Kisses to offer more insight into why the show is delayed until [...]

  90. [...] decided to give his first interview about the "revenue enhancements" standoff to fan blog Basket of Kisses. Along with offering him an opportunity to confirm and correct existing reports, the sympathetic [...]

  91. I just read an article in the Huffington Post about BOK’s interview with Matt Weiner. It had two links to BOK, unfortunately neither of them worked.

    Lipp sisters, I’m ashamed to say I had forgotten about your marvelous site until reading that HuffPost piece. During the “off-season” my obsession with MM kinda lost it’s edge.

    But now I am so pissed off at AMC’s demands. I am most angry at them wanting two more minutes of commercials. I hated the extra two minutes tacked on last season, now they want two more? Ughh. I am old enough to remember when there were much fewer commercial minutes overall in television than there are now. And it seems to get worse every year.

    I’m sure this has been asked before, but wouldn’t it be possible for MM to move to premium cable? I can’t believe that SHO, HBO, or somebody wouldn’t jump at the chance to get it. There must be a reason they can’t, I just don’t know what it is. I sure would love to see them do it.

    • Welcome back, Josie. I dropped a comment in the Huffpo piece with a correct link. At least they linked to us — Digital Spy quoted us without bothering. How rude!

  92. [...] feel your pain! And hey, this was all before Matt’s interview [...]

  93. To Josie (#99): I can’t afford premium cable so a move to it would be dreadful.
    (I’m a journalist who hasn’t been able to find work in two years.)

  94. Mad Men is Matt Weiner’s baby. The show would not be the stellar show that it IS without him. Ditto for all the cast members, who need to stay as long as Matt’s storyline requires it.

  95. [...] 5 premiere date back into 2012), a troubling detail has emerged: to save money, Weiner has been asked to cut six characters over the next three seasons. Since Mad Men is, of course, the most important show on television, [...]

  96. Just give AMC the drop kick to the goal posts of where it once was: A nowhere, useless network, that NO ONE cared about.

    Take Mad Men to a major network, and it will take off again…with triple power.

    Artisis and networks always fail to ” dance with the one what brung ‘em!”.

    Curses to AMC

  97. [...] della quinta stagione di Mad Men, lo stesso Weiner è voluto intervenire, tramite il sito Basket of Kisses, per chiarificare come stanno le cose: [...] Il ritardo non è colpa mia e la questione non [...]

  98. Hi Josie!

    (blowing kisses) :)

    I don’t have my DVDs yet, so I’ve been looking at my notes from S4. (Writer: I take a lot of them per episode, and keep them all.)

    If the show as we know it doesn’t come back — a real possibility now — I will miss so many things about it: not just one character and their primary plotline(s), but the small things they’d say that took my breath away. (“You’re soft, you know that?”)

    I’ll miss the tiny, beautiful things that ended up forming so much of what we write here: a look on Joanie’s face, Don’s silences.

    Mad Men is not the most expensive show on television. (That honor goes to the bloated Chase vanity project, Boardwalk Empire.) I like shows that employ women who act while wearing clothes, whose casts are excellent and can further be counted on not to start bar fights.

    Mad Men is and will always be my favorite. Seasons 1 – 4, should Matt not continue with the show.

    Unlike other viewers, yes: I can stop watching anytime.

  99. I would hate for this show to move to HBO or Showtime. I can’t afford those channels, it’s too expensive. This is my favorite show on television, and would feel terrible if it went off the air.

    What the actors need is a date when the new season will start work. That way, they could do other projects, and still be ready for the new season.

  100. I have to agree with Anne B@107 – the unpalatable but surprisingly* reality-based assessment – the show most probably won’t be coming back, at least not in the style and quality we’ve become accustomed to expect.

    True it’s not expensive in general, but the economics clearly don’t work for AMC and MW probably shouldn’t concede to a smaller budget per episode (though I think the challenge in making that work might be interesting to watch). A No MW Mad Men would have some train wreck gawker appeal for me but your time is probably more valuable than mine.

    If it’s over, it’s over. But she’s 100 percent correct, that won’t ever diminish the chewy goodness of S1-S4.
    ______________________

    *”surprisingly” was deployed here because of that link to Goodman’s post. I thought it was going to be reflective of your critical thinking AB on this topic. He’s a great reviewer, read him every week, but “pay the man!” without any reality-based argument from a grown adult living in America in the 21st century is a waste of pixels. It’s like shouting at the Pentagon, “Stop the War!”

    PS – I’m fairly certain David Chase doesn’t have anything to do with Boardwalk Empire, that’s Terry Winter.

  101. Thank you so much for the info ladies. I was thinking (obsessing) about this last night, and this is a bit of a tangent but . . . it be clear that a lot of time has passed because of Kiernan Shipka, and I would think they would have to advance time enough to keep up with her.

  102. Whoops, LOM. Sorry about that. All those big-budget pay-cable guys are starting to look the same to me.

    Heading out for a lunch date. What’s yours? Bacon-infused old fashioned, for old times’ sake?

    Turn the lights out when you leave, okay? We pay our own bills around here.

  103. yum. . . bacon.

    (non sequitur added strictly for old times’ sake!)

    another PS though, maybe The Sisters know, – Has MW ever mentioned any other project he may have simmering on back burners anywhere? I’ll certainly follow him to his next gig.

  104. Deb, Roberta: You need to cut that Tina chick off at the IP address.

  105. [...] Weiner has had his say. Talking to the Basket of Kisses fansite, he said that he’s “fighting for the show”: “There’s been a lot of [...]

  106. [...] officially greenlit Season 5 of Mad Men, but there was no deal for showrunner Matthew Weiner, who spoke exclusively to Basket of Kisses about the negotiations.  The most controversial issue was cast-cutting [...]

  107. [...] wow, AMC must have had Variety on speed-dial. Matt promised us he would call us first, and he did; we just got off the phone. Because he called on no notice at [...]

  108. [...] sin llegar a un acuerdo con el creador de la serie. Al día siguiente de conocerse la noticia, Matthew Weiner habló sin pelos en la lengua confesando que no tenía noticias de la cadena desde hace tres semanas y [...]

  109. [...] snagged Matt Weiner for his thoughts on the matter. Read the whole thing, by all means, but what jumped out at us was his response when asked what the [...]

  110. [...] himself, in a statement given exclusively to Mad Men fan site Bucket of Kisses, says the outlandish $30-million deal being described in the media is pure fiction. "First of all, [...]

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