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“Mad Men”: Emmy noms add fuel to a pop culture tsunami

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Matthew Weiner was probably as prepared as any writer-producer could be for surviving the pop culture tsunami that Mad Men has stirred up the past few months.

It’s a storm that will now gather more strength thanks to the AMC period drama’s haul of 16 Emmy noms, the most of any drama series this year and a first (shared with FX’s “Damages”) for the once-humble realm of basic cable original skeins.

Weiner (pictured second from left with “Mad Men” thesps and Josh Sapan of AMC parent Rainbow Media on far left) is, after all, an alumnus of “The Sopranos” alum, so he knows about the extra pressure that comes with the fond embrace of the cognizati. (See last month’s New York Times Magazine cover story on “Mad Men” for further explanation.) His way of keeping his feet planted on the ground is to focus squarely on the show, his baby that he nurtured for years from a spec script that no network wanted to a sensation that is transforming its cabler into a player in original series programming. 

“The content of the show seems to be resonating with the culture. That’s the thing I’m most proud of,” Weiner said Thursday during a break from lensing on season two of the Lionsgate TV production at downtown’s L.A. Center Studios. He was ebullient about the news that broke before dawn about “Mad Men’s” Emmy showing, but he had other priorities even on such a momentous morning.

Before going to work on his own show, he took his kids to attend a table reading of “The Simpsons,” something they’d all wanted to do for a long time. “That was a great experience,” he said, sounding like a fan and like a dad.

By late morning, however, Weiner was back in 1962. “Mad Men’s” second season begins July 27. Can it live up to the lofty expectations that only became grew as dawn broke Thursday.

“Awards are a strange thing,” Weiner opined. “If you are ignored by them they become inconsequential. If you’re recognized, then it’s an incredible experience.

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