Mad Men is back at full strength

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

All your fears of a watered-down "Mad Men" — without creator and showrunner Matt Weiner or a lessened cast — have been quelled by this morning news that Weiner and AMC have reached deal. Weiner signed on for three more years of "Mad Men" (for between $25-30 million) and the cast will remain intact for the upcoming fifth season, which will premiere in March 2012. The deal also includes two more seasons of "Mad Men" and a most assuredly third, which Weiner says will be its last. That's a total of seven seasons for the critically-adored series.

The sticking points of the negotiations between Weiner, AMC and studio Lionsgate Television were reducing the cast by two members each season, cutting the run time of each episode by 2 minutes and integrating more product placement. All of the current cast will be back for next season, but some characters' roles may be reduced to recurring in the next two. Two minutes of run time will be cut from every episode except for the premiere and the finale, which will run the 47 minutes we'd gotten used to. And, Hitfix's Alan Sepinwall reports there will be more product integration, but it will be "organic." Whatever that means.

Still, it's good news that "Mad Men" won't have to undergo massive changes and that Weiner, who deserves a ton of credit for the show's incredible style, will be back at the helm for these last three seasons. And just for fun, here's a video reminding us all of the awesomeness that we'll miss until March 2012.