“Television is no longer film’s poorer cousin. I think it’s a place where a lot of the serious acting and great writing is taking place now,” Simon Pegg—who has a role in TNT's upcoming "Mob City"—recently told The Independent. “But the way we watch TV is definitely changing. The networks have to keep up with that. We are definitely now in the age of (subscription television and film download service) Netflix.” Well, it seems that AMC didn't get the memo.
With the final eight episodes of "Breaking Bad" scoring massive ratings—it's up 102% from last summer (yes, really)—that are only expected to go up for the final two, it's a no brainer that AMC wants to have similar success with their other hit show, "Mad Men." And so prepare, because the seventh and final season will be split in two with the first half, titled "The Beginning," airing in 2014 with the second half, "The End Of An Era," landing in 2015. Kind of a dick move? Perhaps, but from a business perspective it makes complete sense.
Let's not forget that "Mad Men" is a cultural force and branding phenomenon that is printing all kinds of extra cash for the network, who have seen Banana Republic launch a clothing line inspired by the show, Estee Lauder has a makeup collection and seriously, just look at all this other junk you can buy. This is probably the main reason this move is happening, but Matthew Weiner is also expressing his pleasure in getting more space to let his finale play out.
"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,” he said. “The writers, cast and other artists welcome this unique manner of ending this unique experience.”
So, win-win? AMC gets to milk the money train and Weiner can have some more creative freedom? Sure, we can buy that. And given that both "Breaking Bad" and "The Walking Dead" already have spinoffs planned, we would not be surprised if that conversation is being had with Weiner.
But here's some extra news that will be sure to soften the sting: Robert Towne has joined the writing staff of "Mad Men." Yes, the legend behind "Chinatown" and "The Last Detail" among others will carry a consulting producer credit and be part of the team determining the fate of Don Draper. Okay, you win, we'll wait as long as we have to. [LA Times/Variety]