Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF) and cable channel AMC agreed to bring back “Mad Men” for a fifth and sixth season, ending a standoff with creator Matthew Weiner.
Weiner, the show’s creator, signed a long-term deal with Lions Gate that includes a possible seventh season, said AMC, a unit of Bethpage, New York-based Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC), in an e-mailed statement today.
AMC, which airs the program, pushed back the start of the fifth season until early 2012 to give contract talks more time. The delay leaves AMC without a program that won the Emmy for best drama for three straight years. It also means “Mad Men,” about the 1960s New York advertising industry, won’t air again until after Cablevision plans to spin off its cable channels later this year into a separate company called AMC Networks Inc.
AMC sought to shrink each “Mad Men” episode by several minutes to provide more commercial time and to cut two cast members to save money, Deadline.com and News Corp.’s The Daily reported March 28. Weiner objected to both proposals, the websites said.
Weiner will retain his cast and will allow more commercials, the New York Times reported today, citing two people with knowledge of the contract. AMC may release the longer versions on video-on-demand and DVDs, the newspaper said.
Lisa Rogen, a spokeswoman for AMC, and Peter Wilkes, a spokesman for Lions Gate, declined to comment beyond providing the statement.
Cablevision gained 28 cents to $34.61 today in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have risen 2.3 percent this year. Lions Gate fell 6 cents to $6.25 and has declined 4 percent in 2011.
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