New York-based series a critical favorite

AMC is set to announce it has renewed “Mad Men,” its debut effort in the scripted-drama category, sources said Wednesday.

Net has ordered 13 episodes of the drama that’s produced by Lionsgate and created by Matthew Weiner; AMC will bring it back the skein in June, possibly using the show as a lead-in for another new scripted series.

Production of the period show about New York ad execs in the early 1960s will remain in L.A. and not move to Gotham as some had previously speculated.

AMC spokesman Matt Frankel declined comment.

Critical fave has attracted a hard-core set of fans since it debuted in July, though ratings have sometimes been modest.

For its initial Thursday-night airings, show has averaged 1.1 million viewers over its nine episodes thus far, with 430,000 viewers in adults 18-49. Viewership is roughly flat compared to the net’s equivalent timeslot a year ago but up 6% over its primetime average during the period.

Over the past few weeks, the show’s household rating has grown 31% when all airings are factored in.

Scripted dramas have become a priority for the net, which has greenlit Vince Gilligan meth drama “Breaking Bad” and is developing a limited-series from “Apocalypse Now” writer John Milius (Daily Variety, July 20).

Net’s oater “Broken Trail,” the most watched program in the history of cable, picked up four Emmys, including miniseries. Execs hope the wins and the prestige provide a foundation for other scripted dramas.

Among the other hourlongs the net has in development are the war series “Gonzo,” from Michael Oates Palmer (“The West Wing”), and “Continuum,” a sci-fi thriller from Tom Fontana (“Oz”).

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