Season 5 of ‘Mad Men’ Officially Happening. Kind Of. Next Year.

Oh man, if there’s one kind of news story that I simply CANNOT RESIST, it’s contract negotiations! I just love it when people far richer than I could ever dream of being bicker over millions of dollars.

That’s the briar patch that “Mad Men” is currently caught in. Today, AMC officially authorized production on Season 5 of the critically acclaimed drama, even though creator/showrunner Matthew Weiner still hasn’t signed on. Weiner, who would be paid $30 million in the new deal (making him the highest-paid showrunner on basic cable), apparently won’t cave to AMC’s requests that he trim two minutes from each episode and integrate more product placement.

So what’s the bottom line for you, the intellectually incurious zombie who just wants to watch attractive people wear nice clothes for an hour every week? A couple things: Season 5 will happen, with or without Weiner (though likely with); Season 5 won’t begin airing until early 2012; and Christina Hendricks still won’t respond to my letters, no many how many severed toes I send her.

[Deadline | Inside TV | Vulture]