MAD MEN Is Coming Back For Season 5… But Will It Be In 2012?

The good news is that Don and the rest of Cooper Sterling Draper Pryce will be back for a fifth season of MAD MEN. The bad news is that we don’t know when.

AMC has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to scripted series. Sort of, if you can call five an embarrassment. But the network, which used to be just a joke (“Wait, Godzilla versus King Kong is an American classic?”) has become a powerhouse of scripted shows, with Mad Men being the show that pulls that locomotive (I don’t know how these metaphors got mixed. Now we have a train crashing into a power plant). And Mad Men has not been officially renewed for a fifth season.

But fret not! It is coming back. The renewal is dependent on negotiations with show runner Matthew Weiner, and they’re going swimmingly enough that AMC announced today at the TCA (Television Critic’s Association) tour that the show would be returning. But what they couldn’t announce is when.

HitFix’s Alan Sepinwall notes that AMC seems to have its Sunday nights booked up for some time, with Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and the new series The Killing. In fact, Sepinwall suspects that Mad Men won’t be back until January of 2012 because of scheduling. So he went and asked AMC president Charlie Collier about this.

“Every year, we’ve looked at everything” for “Mad Men,” he said, reminding me that the series aired on Thursdays at 10 in its first season. “One year we launched in July, one in August. It’s like what Matt does when he decides when he’s going to set a season: we look for the best place to schedule it for what’s going on in the world.”

It sounds to me like AMC, which is now heavily into scripted shows, might want to break out of that Sunday night programming habit. It seems likely that they’ll throw Mad Men on another night, in an attempt to create a beachhead elsewhere in the week. And I’m all for that. Don’t make me wait 12 more months for the next season of Mad Men, you bastards!