Mad Men’s creator denies salary dispute: “I am fighting for the cast & for the show”


There were a bunch of stories yesterday about the new season of Mad Men, and whether or not it was actually going to go forward, or whether AMC was going to metaphorically throw the baby out with the bath water while negotiating with series creator Matthew Weiner. Many criticized Weiner for getting a huge paycheck (reportedly $30 million for 3 years) and then getting pissy when AMC wanted to get added revenue from Mad Men by cutting characters and adding more ad time. Weiner saw that criticism, and now he’s setting the record straight. Full disclosure: I’ve read several interviews with Weiner in the past, and while he comes across as hyper-emotional and a truly OCD-level perfectionist, he also comes across as a decent guy who loves and adores his job, and puts the best interests of the show ahead of his own personal or financial interests. So, I’m just saying – I believe him:

When news hit that ‘Mad Men’ wouldn’t return until 2012, fans of AMC’s juggernaut sighed. When that news spiraled into the notion that creator Matthew Weiner may leave the series, fans wept.

Now Weiner is clearing a few things up. “There’s been a lot of speculation and misinformation in the press about what is going on,” he tells ‘Mad Men’ blog Basket of Kisses. “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.”

The AMC/Weiner negotiations have been rumored to be in progress for months. “We didn’t have an actual conversation until three weeks ago,” Weiner clarifies.

AMC’s three reported conditions for ‘Mad Men’ are trimming the show’s length to accommodate more commercials, incorporating more product placement and ditching two cast members. Weiner says that while characters have departed the series before, it’s never been about money.

“I’ve brought the show in on budget,” Weiner says. “I’ve been a good producer.”

HitFix’s Alan Sepinwall, one of the web’s foremost ‘Mad Men’ gurus, has a thought-out take on the situation. “AMC compromised on the commercial time once, and though they suggest to [The New York Times] that they won’t this time, you never know,” Sepinwall writes. “Maybe in the end AMC blinks, deciding that the prestige of the show — which is largely dependent on having Matt Weiner present and happy — and what it means to their own brand is worth more than squeezing some extra bucks out of the margins.”

Weiner clarifies that the massive salary being floated in the press — $30 million for three more seasons — is inaccurate. “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 says. “The harder that I’ve fought for the show, the more money that they’ve offered me.”

Weiner’s final words for troubled ‘Mad Men’ fans? “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.”

[From PopEater]

To read the full interview with Matthew Weiner, go here.

As I said, I believe Weiner. I think he’s honestly fighting to make the show he wants to make, and that it’s not all about getting himself a huge contract. I don’t think he’s a money-hungry son of a bitch, I just think he doesn’t feel like he should compromise, and that his vision for his show deserves to be protected and fought for.

Meanwhile, AMC announced yesterday that Mad Men is definitely coming back… in 2012. So, there are many, many months ahead for this battle royale between AMC and Weiner.




Photos courtesy of WENN, AMC.

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16 Responses to “Mad Men’s creator denies salary dispute: “I am fighting for the cast & for the show””

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  1. devilgirl says:

    Team Weiner!

    Eff AMC!

  2. PrettyTarheel says:

    He forgot, “I am fighting for the cast, & the show, & the HammDong.” That would have made a much more powerful speech.

  3. devilgirl says:

    Not that I am a fan of glow in the dark, white teeth, but is it my imagination or are Jon’s teeth rather yellow? It kind of takes the hot out of him. He needs a bit of whitening done.

  4. curmudgeon says:

    Commercials every seven minutes for their other programs. SOMEONES getting greedy.
    God bless the DVR

  5. lucy2 says:

    I tend to believe him too, but we’ll see what happens. Hopefully it all works out and they don’t have to make cuts in the cast. If I were him, I’d gladly have 4 more commercials if it meant I didn’t have to fire anyone.

  6. OriginalGracie says:

    Why is AMC being such a little bitch about this? I hate when a Network is all happy that a show is successful, and then they turn right around and do everything in their power to ruin it.

    And NO ONE wants to sit through that if they have to listen to 5 commercials in a row every 10 minutes. I would rather wait for a series to come on DVD at that point and sit and watch the whole thing uninterrupted.

    Damn. Can he take it to another network? Is it “his” show or does only AMC have rights to it? This sucks if they mess with it.

    God bless the HammDong.

  7. gloaming says:

    @ Original Gracie
    I think the Network’s being a little bitch because they don’t want to have to pay higher salaries to a show like The Walking Dead which gets triple the ratings Mad Men does.
    But the irony of that is that TWD probably would never have gone to that network had it not been for MM.

    edit- The rights are owned exclusively by Lionsgate so I think AMC make no money other than ads and product placement.

  8. OriginalGracie says:

    @gloaming: thanks for that info.

    Maybe AMC could raffle off chances to spend the night with the HammDong and his loose cannon. That would raise some serious cash.

  9. Tiffany says:

    So are they going to pull this crap every year. Is this not the same crap a couple of years ago and when it debuted the ratings has a slight increase. Weiner and TBTB @ AMC are in on this. I am over it.

  10. normades says:

    Shame on AMC. Give the Hamm whatever he wants! Go Weiner!

  11. Lisa Turtle says:

    Matt Weiner is being greedy. AMC is not an established big network, nor does it have the extraoridinarily large budget of HBO, NBC, etc. If you ask the network for a massive raise ($30 million+) and ad revenue is their primary source of income, how can you act surprised when they negotiate for more ad time?

    I think the show could work in some product placement slots without losing any integrity. Its a show about advertising!

    I draw the line at firing actors whose storylines are still necessary to the creator. Weiner should be the one who choses when the character’s story ends. Otherwise, a show becomes so fractured. Once the first major character is abruptly written off for reasons that become public (due to disputes like this current one) the show inevitably goes down hill.

  12. Flan says:

    He only fired Charlie Sheen when he began offending him, not when he beat and molested women.

    No sympathy.

  13. Matt says:

    How do you shoehorn product placement into a period piece?! How tacky.

  14. Hunchback Geek says:

    They have an awesome show now, why mess with it.

  15. Hunchback Geek says:

    As far as the yellow teeth thing, I have noticed this with other chareters on the show where it actually looks deliberate. To be true to the era; the desire for perfect teeth was a later decade.

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