Delay will likely push 5th season bow past summer

For “Mad Men” fans, there’s good news and bad news.

The good news is, by multiple accounts, AMC, Lionsgate TV and series creator Matt Weiner are close to a deal that would carry the show through its sixth season.

The bad news is, the show is not likely to make its usual mid-summer premiere berth for its upcoming fifth season because production is likely to start as much as six weeks later than it has in recent years.

Negotiations among the key players have been on and off for months (Daily Variety, Feb. 7). With Weiner’s deal to serve as exec producer and showrunner up at the end of last season, Lionsgate sought to make a new deal with AMC that would take the show through season six so it could then make a two-year pact with Weiner. Lionsgate’s existing deal with AMC ended with season five.

It’s understood that AMC and Lionsgate have completed their deal to extend the license term of the show — after much wrangling over international and digital distribution rights and such. The sticking point remains Weiner’s deal to return to the helm as showrunner. Reps for all sides declined comment on the matter.

Sources close to the situatution say there’s still confidence at AMC that “Mad Men” will be on the air at some point this year.

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