Orange is the New Black Season

Orange is the New Black” will take over from “Mad Men” as TV’s buzziest show, Lionsgate’s TV distribution chief said Thursday at the Gabelli & Company Movie and Entertainment Conference in Gotham.

“That’s our next ‘Mad Men,’ ” said Jim Packer, Lionsgate’s president of worldwide TV & digital distribution.

Lionsgate’s television arm produces the Netflix series about the rough-and-tumble residents of a women’s prison, just as it backed the ground-breaking AMC period drama set in the advertising world. He noted that it took “Mad Men” five years to snag a cover story from Time magazine — a feat that “Orange is the New Black” pulled off in its second season.

“Mad Men” is slated to end its seven-season run next year.

Packer also hit back at suggestions that Lionsgate’s film division may be in trouble once “The Hunger Games” films wrap up in 2015 and the “Divergent” series concludes the following year. He said that films such as the caper hit “Now You See Me” have unexpectedly spawned sequels. He noted that 12 of the studio’s next 25 films will be franchise films or potential franchises.

“The Hunger Games” and “Divergent” will serve as “a launching pad” for “franchises to come,” he predicted.

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