Good News: MAD MEN Season 5 Is Coming! Bad News: In 2012

While contract negotiations haven’t quite finished, AMC is greenlighting MAD MEN for a fifth season… in 2012.

Squeezing in just under the deadline for the Mayan apocalypse, Mad Men season 5 will air on AMC at the beginning of 2012. The show was in some danger for a hot minute there, as AMC, Lionsgate TV and Matthew Wiener all negotiated their deals, with Weiner apparently wanting a bunch more money. And judging by the previous four perfect seasons of TV he’s produced for AMC, he deserves it.

Now here’s where it gets weird: AMC has greenlit the show for a fifth season, despite not having come fully to terms with Weiner. I don’t know if this is a power move or a display of good faith. I imagine the money stuff has been handled; what Weiner has been fighting against most strongly is AMC’s desire to trim the show by 2 minutes, so they can air more commercials. Weiner’s been fighting against that for years now, and I suspect that we can all stand by him on that count.

Deadline also reports that AMC is trying to get Weiner to lose two cast members to save money; as a good show runner he’s fighting against that as well. And again, how can you not stand by him? Creative decisions like that should never be made for fiscal considerations.

I suspect that this will all get worked out, but I have to wonder - could HBO step up and do something here? Is Mad Men wed to AMC forever and ever? (Actually, I imagine that HBO would want home video rights, which Lionsgate wouldn’t want to give up).