“Mad Men” fans: Get ready to be simultaneously sad, happy and frustrated.
The sad first: AMC confirmed on Tuesday (September 17) that the upcoming seventh season will be the last for the Emmy-winning “Mad Men.” This had been widely assumed, of course, but it hadn’t necessarily been spoken out loud by the network.
The happy news next: AMC has ordered an extra episode of “Mad Men” for the final season, expanding the series to 14 episodes for its home stretch.
And, finally, the frustrating news: The last season of “Mad Men” will be split into two parts, with seven episodes airing next spring and then the final episodes airing in the spring of 2015, similar to the fifth season split of “Breaking Bad,” only with one episode fewer per segment.
“We plan to take advantage of this chance to have a more elaborate story told in two parts, which can resonate a little bit longer in the minds of our audience,” blurbs Matthew Weiner, creator and executive producer, Mad Men. “The writers, cast and other artists welcome this unique manner of ending this unique experience.”
[The assumption is that doing seven-per-half rather than eight is what makes this “unique.”]
AMC’s release also seems to reveal that the seventh season premiere is fittingly titled “The Beginning” and the series finale is fittingly titled “The End of an Era,” though it’s doubtful that a press release equals a binding contract when it comes to episode names.
“This approach has worked well for many programs across multiple networks, and, most recently for us with ‘Breaking Bad’ which attracted nearly double the number of viewers to its second half premiere than had watched any previous episode,” said Charlie Collier, AMC president. “We are determined to bring ‘Mad Men’ a similar showcase. In an era where high-end content is savored and analyzed, and catch-up time is used well to drive back to live events, we believe this is the best way to release the now 14 episodes than remain of this iconic series.”
While fans are likely to carp at getting six fewer “Mad Men” episodes per year, the advantages are myriad.
Weiner mentions the ability to spread the story over two seasons, but AMC is just pleased to have another year of prestige programming with “Breaking Bad” only two episodes from concluding (and the less prestigious “The Killing” recently getting the axe). The split will also prevent what was going to be a terrifying Emmy logjam next summer, with the closing eight episodes of “Breaking Bad” going up against the closing 13 episodes of “Mad Men.”
Want one last press release quote? Well, OK!
“‘Mad Men’ has had a transcendent impact on our popular culture, and it has played a prominent role in building our Lionsgate brand,” states Kevin Beggs, Chairman, Lionsgate Television Group. “We anticipate a remarkable seventh season thanks to the brilliance of Matthew Weiner, the entire creative and production team, and our tremendous partnership with AMC. We”re all working to ensure that the series will have the kind of powerful send-off it so richly deserves.”