I've been reading several stories about Mad Men. If you haven't seen it, it's worth a watch. It airs on AMC and is set in the early 60s (Season 4 saw President Kennedy's assassination). We just got through Season 4 and are looking forward to season 5. C just informed me that the next season won't be airing until 2012.
I wasn't exactly pleased about this, because it is one of my favourite shows. The characters are well thought out and well delivered with great lines and the imagery is fantastic. It's an all around fun show to watch. At any rate, he said he heard this on NPR so I decided to do a little interwebz research. I was hoping it was something to do with an actor having fallen ill (like Jon Hamm who plays Don Draper, the character that the show revolves around. Not that I wanted him to be ill, I was just hoping it was something unavoidable, rather than nonsense.
But no, it's nonsense. The show's creator, Matthew Weiner is apparently asking for 30 million dollars for 3 years which the studio apparently would be happy with paying as long as he cuts 2 characters per season over the 3 years to save on cast costs, shortens each episode by 2 minutes so they can sell more ad time, and to allow more product placement within each episode.
Mr. Weiner doesn't want to do any of this. Now, I get that he doesn't want to cut characters. They've already cut a number of characters that I'd have liked to see stay. The characters that are left right now seem to be essential to the story. I can't see the show without any of them. That said, the show is about the advertising business. The characters work at an advertising agency for crying out loud.
Why NOT sell more product placement? Write them in as accounts, turn them into an integral part of the story. It's a show about ad men (and a couple of women) - they need accounts to make ads with. I wonder if Weiner falls into bed complacent with Irony every night with these negotiations. It seems ridiculous to me, and while I understand the creative process, two minutes isn't the end of the world.
If you want that much money out of a studio, you really should be giving them something in return. It's just a TV show and while I really enjoy it, it is not integral to my life. However, I will be a little sad if it doesn't come back and no one bothers to make an episode or a movie of sorts to end the series. It had a definite season ender, but with a show like Mad Men, you almost want to see the main character either retire or die so something is definite.